The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and many other news organization web sites have bought keyword ads for terms related to the Virginia Tech tragedy. As investigated by Brad Flora, they are paying as little as 5 cents and as much as $2.15 per click to drive searchers to their websites who are looking for information about the shooting. While no doubt these are ads of interest to searchers, is it really right for Google to accept those ads?
After every major event, SEM-savvy news sites buy up keyword terms related to those events. This has been going on for a little while, and when see in regards to such a close-to-home tragedy as this one, it seems cruel. I wouldn’t fault Google, even a little for accepting the ads. It’s an automated system, it adds value to the searcher, and it’s a free market. But still, I wonder if they wouldn’t sleep a little better at night knowing they had added a parameter refusing those sort of ads? I might.
Stephan Spencer points out that, thanks to its purchase of DoubleClick, Google now owns a Search Engine Optimization/Marketing firm. Performics, a division of DoubleClick, offers SEO, paid consulting, SEM, affiliate marketing and other programs that would probably be considered a conflict of interest as part of the world’s most popular search engine.
Stephan lists several possibile actions Google can take, including selling off Performics, cutting it loose, or keeping it, but demanding it be so “white hat” that it has trouble competing. I wonder if Google even considered Performics in the deal, or it’s such a small part of DoubleClick’s business that it was overlooked, and will have to be considered after the deal closes. All I know is, if I were working in the Performics office, I’d be pacing back and forth, worrying about my job security.
UPDATE: Danny Sullivan looked around in the acquisition FAQ PDF and found that Performics is addressed. It says:
Q. What will Google do with Performics?
A. Performics is part of DoubleClick, and we are acquiring it as part of the transaction. We have no plans to dispose of it at this time.
That’s a shocker. I’d be surprised that Google thinks it won’t be accused of conflicts of interest if Performics becomes a serious moneymaker, but then again, Google doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, does it?
Another perspective on the DoubleClick deal: an unidentified source told the TimesOnline that Microsoft matched Google’s $3.1 billion offer, but was snubbed, Frankly, I don’t believe it, since Microsfot claims it was way outbid, and Google bid so high I can’t imagine Microsoft being willing to go there. However, were the report true, it would severely hurt Microsoft’s claim that Google is being anticompetitive.
As I touched on when the AOL guy mentioned it at an SES New York panel earlier today, AOL has launched the AOL Marketplace, where AOL will sell Google ads on AOL properties. Since Google provides the ads for AOL Search, this allows AOL to sell ads on its own properties within the Google system, giving them two streams to maximize the ad sales on their sites, and make up whenever Google doesn’t provide enough.
Also, it allows advertisers to buy ads on the AOL portion of the Google ad network, targeting AOL’s users, and not Google’s entire giant base. As the AOL rep pointed out, AOL’s users are of a very high quality, being likely to buy and thus more valuable, so advertising purely on AOL properties, or adding extra AOL-only advertising on top of a Google ad campaign, can be a pretty good idea.
In other search ad news, the state of Utah has decided it is going to police copyrights on the internet, demanding all keyword advertisers consult Utah’s database of copyrighted terms and not use any competitor’s terms. Forgetting about that such actions are almost certainly legal and protected by the First Amendment, the idea that Utah can legislate over the entire internet is kind of comical, and it is stupid of that state’s legislature to think that this is ever going to work.
Cross-posted with InsideMicrosoft
SES search ad panel
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Just got out of the search ad session, and here’s my liveblog (on tape delay, I guess; no wifi). The panel listed at the beginning is the expected panel, but things didn’t quite turn out that way (and I’m not sure if I heard everyone’s name right).
Doug Stotland, Director, Microsoft AdCenter
Gretchen Howard, Online Sales and Operations Manager, Google
Dan Boberg, Senior Director, Sales Technology and Programs, Yahoo! Search Marketing
Amit Kumar, Engineering Manager, Yahoo! Search
Rebecca Lieb, Moderator
SES search ad panel - yahoo
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Dan from Yahoo gets up to talk Panama. Says Panama is the worst code name ever, especially since everybody knows it and uses it. Says advertisers really like Panama so far, especially the features. They like geotargeting, and a feature that lets you pull sliders and see how that change will effect your campaign and your results.
Talks about some new research. The research talks about advocates, people who are very loyal, use search a lot, do a lot of research, and tend to be extremely loyal once they choose something. Statistically, advocates are more open to influence than non-advocates, you just have to put a lot of work into it, but the results are worth it.
They are committed to traffic quality, including appointing Reggie Davis to VP of Marketplace Quality. They are now revealing that 12-15% of clicks (on average across all clicks) are not billed for, in the interest of quality. Not all are click fraud, but are removed because they are not quality in one way or another, and thus should not be billed.
They are announcing today a multi-year deal to exclusively provide contextual ads to Viacom sites, including BET, VH1, MTV, and Comedy Central.
SES search ad panel - microsoft trophy
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Doug from Microsoft is introduced as not having Ms. Dewey’s neckline (apparently she made quite the impression at the keynote. Doug is talking AdCenter. Announced that yesterday AdCenter finished first in a Rock N’ Sock ‘Em robots deathmatch, beating Google and Yahoo, which proves Microsoft can win in the search game (see trophy in photo).
SES search ad panel - microsoft quality clicks
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AdCenter has had a lot of work, releasing in new countries, upgrades and features. Advertisers say their clicks are of very high quality, but there aren’t enough of them, and the interface needs to be easier. Clicks from AdCenter tend to convert higher (see slide in photo). They do better in most categories, but not financial services.
They are working on doing content ads on content sites in order to provide more ad inventory for their advertisers. For now, the pilot is only on Microsoft sites, they are not ready for publishers yet, but it is planned. They are working to make AdCenter easier to use, so there’s a beta site at beta.adcenter.microsoft.com (it even supports Firefox). They know there are issues, but they are knocking out problems one at a time, based on user feedback. You can now import campaigns easily from other companies, faster and more automated.
SES search ad panel ask
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Jim Spear from Ask gets up (not listed in program guide). He says it is unfortunate that Ask wasn’t asked to participate in the robot deathmatch. ASL (IAC’s ad division) is the 3rd largest search network, reaching 35% of all searchers (Google reaches 58%), and Ask is only 20% of the network. They continue to diversify and pick up new small search engines.
SES search ad panel representation of IAC network
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They do some cool things by tracking advertiser conversions, and standardize the cost per click so that the cost per action is even across different advertisers. It’s a really interesting idea, and I’d love to hear more about it. They also develop pacing rules for all advertisers, so they get a broad selection of ads, and advertisers don’t max out their campaigns too early in the day/month, and they are working on ways for advertisers to customize their pacing rules.
They are announcing today more control over their campaigns, including a new way to completely block certain referrers for a campaign. Advertisers can see certain referrers that don’t work for them, and just block it. Customers testing it say their click rate dropped 4%, and their sales per click rose 50%, an obviously successful feature. Good for them.
SES search ad panel google
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Next up is Brian Schmidt from Google (again, not in the guide, guess they are changing on everybody). Says Google has two parts, connecting customers to their information and “more important” (his words) connecting marketers with those customers. They are working on increasing control and providing more inventory.
They have Google Analytics to help see what is going on, and now also the new website optimizer tab to do testing at see what changes to their web pages that will improve conversions. Says the Google ad network is the largest ad network in the world. Talks about their new ad options: Pay Per Action ads, and Cost Per Click for site targeting. Also mentions offline efforts like Google Audio Ads, print and television ads should bring increased efficiency, relevancy and accountability to offline advertising.
With Audio Ads, you can actually go in the interface and hear your ad as it played on the radio, to make sure it actually happened.
SES search ad panel google notions of innovation
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Google has nine notions of innovation (see photo).
SES search ad panel aol
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Next up is John Kannapell from AOL Search (again, the guide fails me). He says if you have any questions, just ask Valleywag after the presentation. Says they have the second-fastest growing ad network. Says advertisers are looking to take advantage of brand advertising from other channels.
Says that the Google logo on their search engine is a big plus, letting users see the trusted brand.
Says AOL users convert better, and are higher quality users, than from any of their major competitors. A study of conversion rates put AOL at 6.17%, MSN at 6.03%, and Yahoo at 4.07%. They are announcing the AOL Search Marketplace, a brand within the Google paid search network, letting advertisers advertise at the AOL segment of the Google network, targeting their ads to a more specific and higher quality segment than they might get with Google.
They are also talking about a behavioral targeting technique that sounds interesting, and I will make sure to check out.
SES search ad panel 2
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Asked by moderator why advertisers should choose them. Answers:
AdCenter: Highest quality clicks, and things you can learn on AdCenter to understand your audience, things you learn and can apply to campaigns on other platforms.
Yahoo: Says it isn’t a competition between the people on the panel, but online and traditional media, that online is proving a superior product.
AOL: Consistent message, highest quality clicks of all
Ask: It is not a zero-sum game, people are buying clicks from everyone, and they all provide something useful, but IAC does provide better support and guidance.
Google: Reach (large audience), innovation and options, and support and usability (they put users first).
Fun fact: You see a lot of computers around me rebooting, a lot of Windows XP startup screens. Why does everyone have to reboot right not?
Question: It is crippling to do ad campaigns in AdCenter, because you have to deal with a dedicated account rep. Is Microsoft doing anything to fix that? Answer is that they are working on improving the UI, nothing specific.
SES NY Wifi lounge
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Just sitting around at Search Engine Strategies New York, waiting for my food to arrive (I’ve got a special meal) or 1:30 to come, whichever is first. If you’re here, Twitter me, call me (212.380.7127), or just yell out my name (”hey, Superman!”). I had to miss yesterday, so I haven’t been to a session yet, but look forward to coverage in an hour, starting with “Meet the Search As Networks”, which has speakers from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Oh, and if you need to recognize me, its dead simple: I’m the only guy with blond hair past his shoulders. Yeah, I don’t believe in haircuts anymore.
Photo above taken in the wifi lounge, accross from the Grand Ballroom, where I am sitting right now. My apologies to anyone in the photo who doesn’t photograph well.
Search Engine Journal is asking readers to nominate their favorite blogs of 2006 in these various categories:
- Best SEO Blog
- Best SEM Blog
- Best Search Agency Resource Blog
- Best Link Building Blog
- Best Social Media Blog
- Best Search Engine Corporate Blog (owned by the search engines)
- Best Contextual Advertising Blog
- Best Affiliate Marketing Blog
- Best Search Engine Community/Forum Blog
- Best Web 2.0 Blog
- Best Search Linkbait of 2006
There are so many good blogs to choose, just browsing the suggested nominees in the comments could add 100 subs to my RSS reader. Nominations are due by tomorrow night, so get yours in now, and vote starting Thursday.
Okay, this is getting ridiculous; Danny Sullivan has managed to almost completely clone his old company, and will probably drive them entirely into the ground. Danny, who already launched a competing blog, Search Engine Land, with the same staff as his old blog, Search Engine Watch, has now announced a new conference, Search Marketing Expo, that will compete with, and likely eventually overtake, his old Search Engine Strategies.
In a few weeks, Danny has unveiled complete replacements for the two big pieces of his old company, which was sold several times before ending up in the hands of Incisive Media. Incisive bought SES/SEW for $43 million 16 months ago, and it looks like their investment is becoming a disaster. I’m glad to see Danny succeed, but I feel bad for Incisive.
The first Search Marketing Expo will be SMX Seattle on June 4 and 5 at the Bell Harbor Convention Center, also the site of Gnomedex. Barring sponsorship, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the announcement of an East Coast event.
ThreadWatch seems pretty happy.
UPDATE: Rebecca Lieb was just introduced as the new Editor in-Chief of Search Engine Watch and the ClickZ Network. Rebecca comes from Universal Television/USA Networks, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Sounds promising. My money’s on Danny, but I’d be very happy if there were two successful mega-search-news-portals to read every day. Good luck to Rebecca, Elisabeth Osmeloski (does she have a nickname to go easy on my typing fingers?) and the rest of the gang at the new SEW.
Google China will announce its future plans for the booming Chinese travel industry at the upcoming EyeforTravel Travel Distribution China 2006 conference to be held in Beijing 22-23 August. Johnny Chou, President of Sales and Business Development for the search engine giant will be presenting on a session discussing how Google is targeting the Chinese travel consumer and the merits of Search as a distribution channel.
This year the event has seen record bookings – a large proportion of which are senior travel executives from across mainland China all keen to form international partnerships and learn first hand from the excellent line up of speakers.
It’ll be interesting to see what Google will propose for this multi-billion consumer market.
Key SEMLogic(TM)findings on the top ten web pages ranked for the key phrase “laptop” on the Google, Yahoo and MSN include:
- Off-page optimization factors out-weighed any on-page optimization factors.
- In-bound link quality was the most important factor across all three engines. However, each engine’s optimal range for link quality was different.
- In determining in-bound link quality, the reputation of the originating web page was more important than the page’s relevance to the keyword “laptop.”
- In-bound link quantity was the least important factor among off-page factors.
- The most important on-page factor for Google was title-tag keyword density.
- Web pages that successfully ranked across the engines all had strong values in at least the two most important influential factors for each search engine respectively.
More about this on PromotionWorld
Search marketing expert and all-around cool blogger Andy Beal is demanding that Google fess up and buy him some headache medicine! Seems all the changes to AdWords are driving him right up a telephone pole.
How is a single adwords account owner supposed to keep up with all your changes? It is hard enough for a full team of specialists nevermind the small business owner that is maintaining their own adwords account. Just when I think I am all caught up, more news comes out about another new feature, tool, format, etc… or I log in and there it is. Oh my head!
Andy even leaves his home address for the GOOG to send out the happy pills. I think readers of this blog and friends of Andy should mail him a bottle of Excedrin, Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, or, if you are really mean, Midol. If Andy says he received a bottle of any kind of pills from a reader of this blog, I’ll give that reader ten entries in the next DVD giveaway contest.
Boris Mordkovich hass introduced Search Marketing Standard, a quarterly magazine covering the search marketing industry, expected to ship its first issue this summer. Through the end of this month, you can sign up to get the first year subscription for free. That’s a no-lose deal, since even if you don’t like the magazine, the nice blue cover will entice your cat into dropping his guard before you smack him with it.
I’ve got my order in (so should you) and I intend to give it a full, in-depth review. They also have a blog.
Hmm… I wonder if they’re hiring…
(via Google Blogoscoped)
So, I will be at Search Engine Strategies New York, which I greatly enjoyed last year. Joseph Morin has a list of the known parties that week. If there’s any interest in a blogger/geek dinner or just some sort of meetup, let me know in the comments and I’ll set it up.
I’ve decided, that in the two weeks leading up to SES-NY, I’ll be asking you guys what I should do at the various sessions. I won’t follow the poll results exactly, and I may not be able to make all the sessions due to time constraints, but since I’m supposed to be covering it for you guys anyway, I’ll make every effort to give everybody what they want.
So, here are some polls, powered by the excellent and free dPolls. Please take a second to answer, as this will affect the coverage on this blog, and help me gain some insight I can pass on to you guys in the future.
Monday, February 27, 2006
9:00 am - 9:45 am
Barry Diller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IAC/InterActiveCorp
10:15am - 11:45am
1 - Fundamentals Track
Introduction To Search Engine Marketing
What are the major search engines? How can their editorial listings send you “natural” or “organic” traffic for free through search engine public relations or search engine optimization efforts? How can you purchase top rankings or placement through search engine advertising opportunities? This must-attend session for beginners provides an overview of key concepts
Danny Sullivan, Editor, SearchEngineWatch.com
2 - Stats & Research Track
Searchonomics: Serious & Fun Stats
Come settle in and get up to speed on what’s happening in search with a range of stats delivered up in rapid-fire and fun fashion from eMarketer’s Geoff Ramsey. Where’s ad spend going? What’s it going on? What percentage of people are doing what? After Geoff, self-admitted data geek Bill Tancer of Hitwise will mine actual search query data to entertain you with relationships you’d expect — searches for dieting spike after the holiday eating season — and those you might not, such as prom dress searches spiking late in the year.
Geoff Ramsey, CEO, eMarketer
Bill Tancer, General Manager, Global Research, Hitwise
3 - Vertical Search Track
Vertical Creep Into Regular Search Results
Vertical is the new kid on the block, when it comes to the real estate of search results pages. Even if users don’t choose to do a vertical search, there’s more chance than ever that search engines will show some vertical listings at the top of “default” results. In this session, a look at how being number one in the search results more and more means being listed in vertical search.
Bob Carilli, Argus Interactive
Gord Hotchkiss, President and CEO, Enquiro
Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR
Mihir Shah, Director of Product Management, Yahoo!
4 - Advertising Track
You know about search targeted listings, where your ad shows up based on the keywords someone enters into a search engine. But what about contextual ads, where paid listings show up based on the content of what someone is reading? Programs exist to let you easily move search ads into a contextual environment. But should you? This session offers tips and advice for those coming at contextual offerings from a search marketing perspective.
Andrew Goodman, Principal, Page Zero Media Inc.
Brad Byrd, Vice President, NewGate
Barry Chu, Senior Manager, Content Match Product Marketing, Yahoo! Search Marketing
Peter Hershberg, Managing Partner, Reprise Media
Emily White, Online Sales, and Operations Director, AdWords, Google, Inc.
5 - ClickZ Track
Meaningful measurement seems to increase in complexity almost daily. Tying together disparate data from advertising, search initiatives, Web sites, online commerce and even offline marketing initiatives is no mean feat. Making sense of it all is a source of frustration not only for marketers, but for entire organizations. In this session, some of the top Web metrics practitioners will discuss adapting measurement methodologies, processes and tools into something that not only makes sense, but that can dramatically lift marketing and business performance.
Jason Burby, Director of Web Analytics/ Business Intelligence, ZAAZ
Neil Mason, Applied Insights
Eric T. Peterson, Visual Sciences, LLC
12:00pm - 12:45pm
Lunch With The Google Engineers
Lets be honest, we know where the votes are going on this one.
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Monday second sessions
1 - Fundamentals Track
Search Term Research & Targeting
The bedrock to success with search engines is understanding which search terms to target. Fail in that and your audience may never find you. This session covers ways to undertake search term research that is crucial to succeeding with your search engine marketing efforts, whether that be via free or paid listings.
Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance
Tor Crockatt, Global Head of Editorial, MIVA
Dan Thies, President, SEO Research Labs
2 - Stats & Research Track
The Search Landscape
What’s the most popular search engine? The most used search engine? What vertical areas of search are growing? Are people using search toolbars more or less? Representatives from major ratings and traffic analysis services share stats and info on topics such as these, in this session.
Gord Hotchkiss, President and CEO, Enquiro
Ken Cassar, Chief Analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings
James Lamberti, Vice President, Search Solutions, comScore Networks
Bill Tancer, General Manager, Global Research, Hitwise
3 - Advertising Track
Targeting Search Ads By Demographics & Behavior
The days of targeting searchers only via keywords are coming to an end. Now search engines are giving you the ability to target searchers by age, gender and other demographics. In addition, search profiling makes it possible to target searchers with ads long after they’ve done a particular search. Say someone searches for information about a new car. New programs allow you to show them ads based on that search behaviour days after the initial query was done. Learn more about products and strategies, in this session.
Kevin Lee, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Did-it.com
Danielle Leitch, EVP, Client Strategy, MoreVisibility
Jed Nahum, Director of Product Management, MSN Search
Roy Shkedi, CEO, AlmondNet
Dana Todd, Founding Partner, SiteLab International, Inc.
4 - ClickZ Track
Blogs, CGM and Buzz
Marketing has become a conversation between marketers and consumers. Campaigns and perceptions are created and informed by the public nearly as often as by “real” marketers. New tools and techniques have emerged to find and organize consumer-posted thoughts and opinions. Monitoring consumer feedback and consumer-generated media including blogs and message boards is an important marketing task. Not only does it reveal what’s being said about their brand, it allows them to use those insights to drive new campaigns and even new products. This session will help marketers understand how to use these tools to better integrate consumer opinions into marketing and advertising plans.
Rebecca Lieb, Executive Editor, the ClickZ Network
Dave Balter, Founder and President, BzzAgent
Pete Blackshaw, Chief Marketing Officer, Intelliseek
Jim Nail, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, Cymfony, Inc.
Steve Rubel, Vice President Client Services, CooperKatz
The Google AdWords Professionals program is now available for non-U.S. companies. GAP is a system whereby companies can sign up with accredited AdWords companies that manage their accounts. GAPs can manage multiple AdWords accounts from a single Client Center. Google has now expanded the program into Africa and Europe.
ThreadWatch is not entirely satisfied:
Now Google has extended the Company scheme to allow orgnaisations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to become Adwords Qualified Companies - but for some reason has still excluded companies from Asia, South America and Australia (and Antartica) from participating. Which frankly, leaves me feeling a little bemused.
Why does Google see fit to offer this accreditation to companies based in Nigeria, Romania and the Palestinian Territory while denying it to firms in, say, Japan, Australia or French Polynesia? If you work at Google, please enlighten us.
(via Search Engine Journal)
Danny Sullivan points to a survey that shows Google advertisers say they found their ads more effective than Yahoo and (much more than) MSN.
… MediaPost reports on an Outsell survey of 1,200 advertisers last November that found 71 percent found search ads on Google were effective, compared to 62 percent on Yahoo and 49 percent on MSN.
Google’s contextualization targeting does seem more advanced, so I’m sure this survey is spot on. I wonder, since MSN was serving Yahoo ads, why would their ads be so much less effective? Is Yahoo screwing MSN on technology, or is Yahoo supplying the ads, not the targeting? We’ll have to wait for AdCenter for results that accurately reflect on MSN, however.
Also, from the article:
But when Outsell looked more closely at the results, it found that the most enthusiastic Google fans also had the smallest marketing budgets. The average marketing budget of respondents who rated Google “extremely” effective totaled $3.7 million. But average budgets for those who considered Yahoo and MSN extremely effective came to $4.6 million.
Google did make its mark on the long tail of advertising, and I guess its showing. Is the message that larger advertisers need look elsewhere to reach a broader, consumer-focused audience? I don’t think that’s a message Google should like. It needs its advertising products to appeal to advertisers both large and small.
In his latest alertbox, Nielsen points out two things that are very remarkable. The first one concerns search engines and second one the future of intelligent devices.
“Search engines extract too much of the Web’s value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors.”
I’m not quite sure what he means with ‘liberation from search depency’ because I used to think search engines were a tool that could improve your visibility on the web. If I get his point correctly, Nielsen says it would be a strategic imperative for a website or software vendor NOT to be indexed by search engines, aiming for direct hits. In one way he’s right, because once your brand is represented strongly enough, you could become independent from search engines and so internauts would just type in the name of your brand.com or service.com without feeling the need to research it first. Examples could be something like nike.com.
In another way, I don’t think Nielsen is right, because to reach such a status where you no longer need search engines to help drive traffic to your site or have users type in keywords to find you through a search engine, you actually need to be around for a long time already. Breeding awareness takes time and money, and if you can be found with some help (keywords), why would that not be a strategic imperative? Not every software vendor or website has the capacity to force that kind of brand awareness.
Nielsen is right when he says paid/sponsored results are sickening the search industry, making the owners of search engines richer while they sit down and wait for bidders to make higher bids for the same keywords. Indeed, skimming the cash seems easy. But let’s not forget that to run a search engine that is good enough for internauts to rely on, you also need to make massive investments, which would come from a generated income. If everything would be free, what would the search engines survive on? Diversification is an answer, but that’s also shot down by Nielsen, where he claims it takes the search engine away from its core business, offering free services to internauts/consumers. I fail to see the downside in this. Why can’t a company offer free services that aren’t directly related to its core business?
In a utopic view of this situation, you would expect users/internauts to bypass search engines and go directly to the wanted digital address. That would imply all of the consumer knowing all of the brands (websites and software vendors). What did I miss to not see this as a reality?
“In the future, we will see a large number of products that know where they are and what they are being pointed at. One likely development is to build this knowledge into cameras. For example, your camera would know that you are in Paris and shooting the Eiffel Tower, thus automatically tagging the photo with the relevant keywords, making retrieval easier.”
I just think that would be so great. Intelligent digital toys turn me on. I love the idea. It’s just so ‘web 2.0′ it has to become reality soon.
From [Nielsen’s Alertbox] - cross posted on [Marketing Thoughts]
I’m so sick of seeing the 40% click fraud number repeated like its actually accurate. Wired’s Charles Mann writes about click fraud, passing the accuracy buck by quoting supposed victims of click fraud and “marketing research firms” which claim numbers of 40 and 50 percent based on zero demonstrable evidence. I remember people claiming on 9/11 that they’d heard there were eight hijacked planes, but reporting claims is not fact-checking.
Randy Morin puts it well:
I believe, but you can correct me if I’m wrong, that everybody is experiencing between 0 and 100% clickfraud. Everybody who claims to be a victim of clickfraud says pretty much the same stupid thing. Cry me a river. The reporter and his sources are the real fraud.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.