Business issues - a general catchall for all seo business related discussions

A look inside Pixar

Quote: As it was explained to me later, Steve Jobs originally proposed a building with one bathroom, something that would drive foot traffic to a central area all day long. Obviously, they’ve got more than one bathroom in the building, but just standing there and watching as everyone arrived to start their day, it was obvious that Jobs had managed the feat.

Since it is Friday, I don't feel bad dropping this link. What a creative place to work: A look inside Pixar

Google's Blogger out of Juice, Oregon Property Deal Makes Sense

As infoworld reports like many others today on problems with Google's Blogger tool, the property deal they made back in February begins to make sense.

Blogger's Biz Stone said on the Blogger weblog that the reason Blogger was suffering performance issues was not down to hardware, but power. They just don't got enough juice for all dem busy blogger folks...

Meanwhile, Phil Ringnalda posted his surmise on the 30acre, $1.9 million property buy in The Dalles, Oregon

Quote: See, the most significant thing you notice when you're in (okay, driving through) The Dalles is The Dalles Dam, a 1.8 million kilowatt generating monster that stretches a mile and a half across the Columbia River. Hmm. River. Rereading the article, I see where discussions of water supply, and wastewater treatment came up, too, and The Dalles is going to have to beef up its water system, though because the waste won't require much in the way of treatment, not the wastewater system.

It seems logical doesn't it? And would explain the mystery of the Oregan facility that everyone was scratching their heads about last month.

Is GOOG running out of juice?

Search Marketers Divided, Time for New Definitions?

Yesterday we discussed this Wired article featuring well known Search spammer Greg Boser of Web Guerrilla. As a result of those discussions, and talks elsewhere, one thing has become very apparent: Search marketers are divided on how they define both what they do, and why they do it. This post will suggest that it might be time to look at redefining, or perhaps creating new terminology for the differing schools of thought.

Follow the title link for the full post.

Forrester's 2nd Search Marketing Boot Camp

Thread Title: Upcoming Forrester search marketing bootcamp Thread Url: Thread Description:

Forrester are holding a one day bootcamp for the clueless: The The Essentials Of Search Engine Marketing and although she mentions speakers, i could only see her and colleague Shar VanBoskirk on the list so far.

This boot camp will help participants build search into their overall marketing efforts. Specific exercises will help marketers learn how to make their sites highly visible across search engines, how to determine, purchase and evaluate the right keywords for their business, and how to determine their search budget and business goals.

All in one day? Apparently so, you can see the agenda here

Brands Threaten Legal Action, Fear of Search Abuse Grows

Thread Title: Brands threaten legal action as fear of search abuse grows Thread Url: Thread Description:

On the front cover of this months New Media Age is an interesting article illustrating the disquiet amongst merchants regarding affiliates PPC'ing on their brands

In the world of pay-per-click search, the problem is even more complex, as the relationships between a brand and its affiliates and dealers proliferate and as different companies take different approaches to the use of their brands online. Some brands, such as Butlins (NMA 24.02.05), are happy for their affiliates to bid for search terms including their name, and use a tiered system of commissions to reflect that. But the majority of companies are much stricter about how they allow their brands to be used. And beyond this are problems such as companies bidding on their competitors' brand names.

Those involved in this sector of SEM will obviously be well aware of this but the fact that it is making the mainstream media indicates what a widespread issue this is becoming

Is Search Advertising Dangerously Overpriced?

Thread Title: Rise in Online-Advertising Prices At Search Sites May Be Overdone Thread Url:,,SB111092421014780346,00.html Thread Description:

Dow Jones' Riva Richmond thinks they may be..

But worries about ad-price softening have weighed on shares of Google and Yahoo recently, despite strong fourth-quarter performances from the two companies. Google's stock is down 17% at $179.98 from a high of $216.80 set Feb. 2, while Yahoo is down 20% at $31.91 from its 52-week high of $39.79 set Dec. 3.

The concerns arose, in part, from complaints about high prices by online retail giant eBay Inc., one of the largest buyers of keyword ads, at its annual meeting with financial analysts last month. The comments came on the heels of a disappointing earnings report for the fourth quarter, when eBay lifted its marketing spending to attract Christmas shoppers.

Google Insiders See Green and Lots of it!

Thread Title: Google Insiders See Green and Lots of it! Thread Url: Thread Description:

Google Inc. co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and other senior company executives, have sold more than $500 million worth of stock in the Internet search firm over the past several months, according to regulatory filings.

If you like pretty graphs of who selling and how much here you go

French led Euro Rival to Google Print Initiated

Thread Title: Chirac Rivals Google with French Online Book Plan Thread Url: Thread Description:

Google Print, the ambitious plan to put great libraries of literature onto the Internet just got itself a French led European rival after making enemies in trademark suits in France where it has just lost it's latest appeal.

French president Jacques Chirac told the national library to get cracking on plans to build a european rival to what the french fear will be an english language dominated project run by the Search giant in the US.

Chirac gave the go-ahead for research into the project after Jean-Noel Jeanneney, who heads the national library, expressed concern that Google's plan to put books from some of the world's great libraries online would favor the English language.

Chirac asked Jeanneney and France's culture minister to look at ways "in which the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe could be made more widely and more quickly accessible by Internet," Chirac's office said in a statement.

Chirac would seek support among other European countries in the coming weeks for a bigger, coordinated push to get Europe's literary works online.

You have to wonder about the technology side of that i guess, Google have ample experience in indexing documents. What do the French have? At any rate, this is something to likely take years and years so file this one under "one day..."

More Book Digitization Projects

Gary Price emailed me this morning with some nice links to other projects, thanks Gary!

Apple wins iTunes Domain Battle - UK firm to Fight Decision

CyberBritain's CEO and former dot-com teenage millioaire Benjamin Cohen has lost the latest battle in his fight to keep HIS domain.

Interesting that this VNU article brings out the 'cult' word! It is also covered by silicon here.

This is the second high profile domain lost this week, in my opinion, wrongly.

Quote: A French court has ordered fashion designer Milka Budimir to hand over her website to the Kraft Foods company, which owns the Milka chocolate brand. Judges said the US giant Kraft Foods was entitled to the website because it had owned the brand long before Mrs Budimir, 58, was born

I have been through this domain dispute nightmare - it is not easy and the little guy doesn't win very often.

Vertical Search creates Buzz in Silicon Valley

Thread Title: Silicon Valley’s buzzing with Vertical Search Thread Url: Thread Description:

Om Malik writes about the buzz surrounding vertical Search on Sandhill Road. On explaining vertical, he says:

So what is vertical search? It is a specialized search engine that mines data for one narrow niche of the market place. Say jobs or travel. Or even high end real estate. Because the data sources are so fragmented, there seems to be an opportunity to massage the data and present it in a manner that is simple to use and easy to consume. Sort of meta search for niches. The main reason this is supposed to work is that the two older advertising models - cost per thousand (aka banner ads) and cost per click are too inefficient and fraught with fraud-related risk. Vertical search can offer a more focused audience, and thus increase the efficiency of ads on the search engine. It also presents a new kind of advertising opportunity - lets call it cost per action. If you can generate leads, or say have some sign-up for an email newsletter or a RSS feed, you suddenly have created much higher value, and thus that click is more valuable.

Om's commentary on how VC's are getting all giggly over vertical ties in with a recent Jupiter Media Report predicting the rise of vertical search and although there has been some contention over the details, it does look like we'll be seeing more money poured into vertical search startups soon...

Time to go fishing

Over at this thread at Webmaster World people are kindly reveling the amounts of their Adsense checks and the subjects. Not a terribly smart move imho.

Ask Jeeves Firefox Toolbar

Thread Title: Got Firefox? Get Toolbar Thread Url: Thread Description:

Not if you paid me, but my mum will love it, as i recently switched her to FF...

Holy shit, slashdotted again....

What is this? Slashdot TW week or what?

Oh well, looks like im not going to be after all...


Microsoft Paid Search Ads to be Announced Tomorrow

Interesting story in the that appears to have got out before an embargo time - it quotes Bloomberg News as the originator. You need to sign up for the article, but its worth the read. I would think there will be another big drop in G shares tomorrow.

Quote: The service will be similar to competing programs from Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. Microsoft will announce a pilot program March 16, said the people, who asked not to be identified. These paid searches auction off placement next to Web search results to companies with related products. Quote: Microsoft spokeswoman Karen Redetzki declined to comment. Microsoft is holding briefings with reporters tomorrow, she said. MSN is holding a conference for its advertisers this week and plans to make the announcement there, the people said. Quote: Microsoft has almost 10 times as much in cash and short-term investments as Yahoo and more than 16 times as much as Google, and winning customers with price cuts may be considered a "pretty good use of cash," Pyykkonen said.

Microsoft CFO eyeing new Aquisitions

Forbes publishes today an interview with Microsoft CFO,John Connors.

He is explaining how M$ are aiming to juggle with the $60billion cash they have sloshing around. After sorting out shareholders he says

Quote: The first thing was to keep enough cash on hand to give us flexibility to manage things like a severe short-term economic dislocation or investment opportunities. We haven't publicly said how much cash that will be, but it's probably fair to assume that, after the upcoming distribution, we will still have around $25 billion to $40 billion on hand.

and he makes this telling statement

Quote: We also want to have enough for acquisitions. We have made a series of acquisitions, some of them for cash. And while most of them have been fairly small, we also want to be able to make some game-changing investments if we so choose. Any large acquisition would likely be a combination of cash and equity.

Wonder who they have their eyes on, $25 to 40 billion buys you a lot of christmas presents, why Google is "only" capitalised at $48 billion.

NYT Preps Readers for Monetization Push

Thread Title: Can Papers End the Free Ride Online? Thread Url: Thread Description:

The New York Times appear to be preping online readers for their long awaited (and widely talked about) monetization push in a thinly disguised "story" about Newspapers and content.

Here's the interesting bit:

The New York Times on the Web, which is owned by The New York Times Company, has been considering charging for years and is expected to make an announcement soon about its plans. In January, The Times's Web site had 1.4 million unique daily visitors. Its daily print circulation averaged 1,124,000 in 2004, down from its peak daily circulation of 1,176,000 in 1993.

Executives at The Times have suggested that the paper, which already charges for its crossword puzzle, news alerts and archives online, may start charging for other portions of its content, but would not follow the Journal model, which charges online readers $79 a year for everything.

Hello small subscriber base, goodbye links and relevancy...

Libel and Jurisdiction

An article in the NY Times today on the tricky point of "if someone is going to sue you for libel, where do they sue you". Google, among others, is joining with The Post to fight the case. The case has substantial implications for bloggers and online publications..

The story is all to do with a Canadian citizen who lost his job with the UN in New York, because of an article in the Washington Post. The resulting libel case is being heard in Canada, not USA.

Quote: "Your reputation, and any damage to your reputation, is most closely felt where you reside." she [the plaintiff's lawyer]said. Paul Schabas, who is representing The Post, said that the case should be heard either in Washington or in New York, the home of the United Nations. Last year, however, a judge in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto sided with Mr. Bangoura. Last week, both sides were in appeals court arguing about that decision. Quote: Joining The Post is an informal consortium of 51 news organizations, including The New York Times Company, Google, CNN, Canada's leading newspaper publishers and the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Kurt Wimmer, a Washington lawyer representing the coalition, said that allowing libel actions outside of a publication's home country could lead to an impossible situation.

On the Record: Tim Draper

Interview in San Francisco Chronicle with venture capitalist Tim Draper, who's best known for starting one of Sand Hill Road's most successful firms -- Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

He has funded Hotmail, Skype, NetZero, - and missed out on Yahoo (outbid) & Google (Sergy never convinced his partners). And the inview gives background to these investments.

And he is certainly creative in getting companies to invest in.

Quote: We put a blog up and it said, "Pitch Tim Draper on your billion-dollar idea."

We had some great fun with it. We picked 11 ideas, and we invited them all to pitch me from video teleconferencing. It worked unbelievably well. We actually ended up funding one called InterCell.

Newsweek reports on

A Newsweek report this week looks at, a travel site that has been in beta since last fall. It doesn't actually sound a great leap forward, but it has some heavyweights behind it, and this is Newsweek reporting. And they are making their money from selling traffic onward, rather than, as is customary in travel, getting a booking commission. It has a spartan Google-esque interface.

Quote: the creative minds behind the formation of the largest travel sites (Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia) pooled their collective wisdom to devise a new model.... The site would not actually sell anything - rather it would help consumers find products and services from other websites. Quote: The way we get paid is a lot like the way Google gets paid, so when we hand someone off to another Web site that has its products on our site, we get paid a small referral fee. Quote: Ultimately, what we were trying to do at Orbitz was to sell you something. At Kayak we're not trying to sell you something. We don't actually provide the booking services, so we're one step further removed. We don't have a point of view on what you buy—American versus United—or, frankly, where you buy it, or even Orbitz.

And, as is the wont of business plans, they are there to help the customer.

Quote: The best is yet to come as is committed to helping consumers make informed travel decisions.

I don't like Weblogs, Inc.

Thread Title: Better out than in Thread Url: Thread Description:

There I said it, I feel much better with that off my chest.