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

Google keeping the wolf from Firefox' door

I was not aware of it before reading this ZDNet article , of Firefox's close links to Google

Quote: The Mozilla Foundation's deal with Google is playing a crucial role in helping the non-profit organisation challenge Microsoft with its Firefox browser. Quote: Following an agreement reached last year, Firefox includes Google as the default option for users wanting to search the Web directly, and also has its default start page hosted by Google. Markham didn't reveal full details of the Foundation's deal with Google. Quote: Markham said the Foundation may sign more sponsorship deals in the future, but is cautious of making too many deals as this could have a negative impact on usability. He claims this is one problem that Netscape encountered.

"Netscape ran into trouble with its browser as it sold every bookmark and link, and couldn't change the browser in a way that was better for users without breaking its deals," said Markham. "We're very aware that Netscape fell into this trap and don't want to do same thing. Google was the default browser for Firefox before we even signed the deal."

Change the way you view Firefox :-)

Next up on the Search Auction Block: Crystal Semantics!

Thread Title: Crystal Semantics Granted Patent for World's First Sense Engine Thread Url: Thread Description:

Back at the beginning of December we reported on Crystal Semantics new "sense engine". A technology for deciphering the sense of a word. This from the press release:

The technology enables the correct senses of words to be determined -- for example, determining the sense of the word 'depression' in relation to economics as opposed to 'depression' in the context of mental health. The patent outlines a structure where a database containing a 'plurality of terms' is used to define the placements of information within logical categories. The 'plurality of terms' along with the taxonomy of all the associated words are used to define and uniquely classify the particular subject. In everyday language, the words and senses of a dictionary are being associated with the knowledge categories of an encyclopedia.

I'd say that with all the recent Search buys, and rumours of buys i'd not be too surprised to see them in one of the big boys shopping carts before long.

What a mad race Search has become eh? Makes you wonder where it will all end...

Searchers use Multiple engines - Threats and Opportunities

Quite an interesting Nielsen/Netratings report out today comparing multiple usership by punters of Google/Yahoo/MSN

Quote: According to the latest custom research from Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Search, 58 percent of Google searchers also visited at least one of the other top two search engines, MSN Search and Yahoo! Search, showing that even though Google's market share is dominant today, there is significant opportunity for its competitors to grow their share

Google, Gator - Gator, Google - SNAP!

Over the weekend, in the relative peace and quiet of a typically newsless period, Threadwatch members continued to chew over the implications of the new Google Toolbar Beta that sports the much talked about Autolink feature. In fact, we've talked about it a lot:

Google pulling Smart Tags Caper with Toolbar Trust, Betrayal and the Google Brand Winer says Google's AutoLink is Adware Confirmation: Google's AutoLink created by Smart Tag Inventor this was later found to be false. Barnes & Noble move to Thwart Google AutoLink Google's Statements on Toolbar Autolink Code for Killing Google AutoLink

What i'd like to do here, is summarize some of the more interesting points made about Google Autolink in our latest discussion: Google's Statements on Toolbar Autolink. In particular, the comparisons made to Google's statements and those of Gator, which was eventually forced to rebrand as Claria

Comparing Google's Statements to Gator's

Jill Whalen first broached the idea that Ms Mayer, Googles consumer products manager, statements on the Autolink feature were particularly reminicent of Scott Eagle's statements of a few years back with the so dubbed Spyware program Gator.

Yahoo revamp Asian Management Team

Thread Title: Desk Swap Thread Url: Thread Description:

Yahoo are going great guns in Asia and undertaking some new sponsorship & advertising models and want to capitilise on their market share by having a management shuffle.

As someone who runs a small business in search I think these moves are excellent. I may be wrong though and welcome your thoughts

Forbes say it much better than I can:

Yahoo has beefed up its management team for Asia in a bid to expand its business beyond desktop services and tap emerging markets in Southeast Asia.

The portal has promoted former GM for Southeast Asia Niren Hiro to general manager, Yahoo mobile Asia-Pacific. Hiro is charged with developing Yahoo's mobile strategy beyond the computer-based services in China, India, Korea,Taiwan. Southeast Asia and Australia.

The company has also relocated former Intel executive Re/a Behnam from its California headquarters to Singapore as managing director of Yahoo Singapore and Southeast Asia. Behman, who was previously director of strategy and solutions for Yahoo's global alliances, will focus on expanding core businesses, including online advertising, search and wireless in Singapore and the emerging markets of Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Yahoo in Japan

Thread Title: Yahoo buy naming rights to Japanese stadium Thread Url: Thread Description:

Yahoo are obivously looking for increased brand awareness in Japan, so have made themselves more prominent by purchasing naming rights for a stadium.

Yahoo Japan Corp said Friday the company has officially purchased the naming rights to the home stadium of the Softbank Hawks in Fukuoka, formerly known as the Fukuoka Dome.

Yahoo signed the five-year, 2.5 billion yen deal, which also includes billboard advertisements, and renamed the ballpark Fukuoka Yahoo Japan Dome.

Personally, I wonder how well it will work for them. The Japanese marketplace is vastly different to the areas I know but I hope it goes well for the Sunnyvale team

Webmasterworld Announce Pub er.. World of Search #8

Thread Title: World of Search #8 Thread Url: Thread Description:

Rumour has it the last one lost money, but it can't have done that badly as WebmasterWorld launch the "World of Search" conference to be held in New Orleans 21st - 24th June 2005

Google Shares take a pounding

The Street reports a downgrading of Google and Yahoo shareswhich slid today after a top analyst downgraded the shares and lowered his price targets on both.

Quote: RBC Capital Markets' Jordan Rohan cut his investment rating on the stocks to sector perform, saying channel checks show unexpected weakness in paid-search pricing. Rohan, who had previously rated Google a "top pick" and Yahoo! outperform, lowered his price target on Google to $200 from $250 and cut Yahoo!'s to $34 from $43. Quote: The $200 price target reflects a multiple of 20.2 times RBC's forward estimate of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $2.6 billion and 39.3 times its forward earnings estimate.

"We believe this level of valuation is defensible and reasonable in the long term," the brokerage wrote. "However, the loss of momentum in the category, coupled with high investor expectations after two quarters of blowout earnings, creates a situation where investors are likely to apply a higher discount rate to future cash flows of Google."

A similar argument informed the Yahoo! downgrade

Another report on Fox News

February Search Patents

A few days early but here are the February Patents from the search engines as well as other search related patents I could find.

It's a few days early but if any more come in I'll edit this post to include them.

Fun and Games with Search Patents

Thread Title: A9 Search Looks to Patent Its Shtick Thread Url: Thread Description:

I see that A9 are looking to patent behavioural search - where the algorithm attempts to hone your search results based on your prior searches.

On Tuesday, the United States Patent & Trademark Office published the subsidiary's patent application No. 2005003380. "Server architecture and methods for persistently storing and serving event data," filed in July 2003, describes A9's method of personalizing search results by including an individual's past searches and other behavior. The same application is on file in the European Union.

The patent application discloses what is likely already's de facto search architecture, both for A9 and the e-commerce site.

Im getting just a little sick of patents - so if this goes through, it means that nobody else can improve Search in such a manner right?

Thanks Amazon...

Institute of Direct Marketing & Google Work Together

Thread Title: Digital Qualifications come to our industry Thread Url: Thread Description:

The Institute of Direct Marketing have launched 2 new digital only qualifications.

The IDM Certificate and Diploma in Digital Marketing, are exclusively being run by Google via their Adword professional programme

The main questions that come out of this are,

Why an advertising campaign only qualification, from an institute that operates in multiple ways to get a message across? Why partner with Google? Why did Google partner with the IDM and not the SMA, or even SEMPO who they are a supporter of? (Although I appreciate there is a legal world of difference between an institute and other bodies such as associations.

I could carry on but there is more than enough food for thought there.

If I was pressed on the question, "Is this a good thing?" then my answer has to be yes. Qualification show proof of a bare minimum level of understanding and for a website looking to partner with an SEM company or individual that has to be a good thing.

Proving SEO Negligence

Thread Title: Sued for Black Hat SEO? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Googles guidelines for webmasters say that your (the website owners) contract with the SEO should ensure they stay within the guidelines and now this guy's prepared to act as an expert witness if the seo doesn't?

Some search engine optimizers (I won't call them experts or professionals) use un-ethical techniques that violate the terms of service provided by the search engines. These people are sometimes called "search engine spammers" and the techniques they employ are sometimes called "spam" or "search engine spamming." The list of un-ethical optimization techniques includes: hidden text, hidden links, multiple doorway pages, link farming, deceptive redirects and cloaking. While these techniques may produce short-term results (long enough for the optimizers to get their pay), in the long term these techniques can do great harm to a company's website. The search engines are constantly working on their algorithms for detecting un-ethical techniques. When they discover a website that is violating their terms of service they may penalize the website's rankings or remove it from the search results altogether. An expert witness in search engine optimization can help you determine if this has occurred.

Aside from picking in Dr Hooper specifically (too easy to be worth it to be honest) is it actually possible to state whether most techniques were justified or not? If you get a client to sign a release for every single link you agree or method you use could they still claim they didn't understand the dangers? And how do you get SEO PI Insurance? sells for $386,000

Thread Title: sells for $386,000 Thread Url: Thread Description: WhatIsMyIP website sold off for big money by auction.

Wow, in a week this site raised the selling price from starting bid going for $3500 to the actual amount of $368000.

Think about that for a minute... A site that does nothing more than give you your IP. It receives around 1,7 million uniques a month and got a few good rankings that'll hold for how long?

Shisz, that's a lot of money!

I hope Kottke has a better plan that this....

Thread Title: Doing as a full-time job Thread Url: Thread Description:

Famous (though lord knows why..) blogger Jason kottke has given up his day job and is now holding out his hand for fans to feed him.

I'm asking the regular readers of (that's you!) to become micropatrons of by contributing a moderate sum of money to help enable me to edit/write/design/code the site for one year on a full-time basis. If you find valuable in any way, please consider giving whatever you feel is appropriate.

It's not that i mind the idea of contributions, it's not a dreadful idea in itself, but if that's his only idea for income generation on his website then he could well be up shit creek before too long...

It's both amusing and a little sad to see bloggers make such monumental mistakes, it was disagreeing with Yahoo's Russel Beattie over the idea of micropayments for blogging as a business model that led him to have a little foot stomp and ban my IP - Well, i just can't see donations, or micropayments for blogging as coming anywhere close to a viable business model.

Naturally, the "a list bloggers" and the "wanna be a listers" are falling over themselves to pat him on the back and congratulate him on his move. I wonder if any of them will be a good enough friend to tell him not to hand in his p45 just yet, or better still, come up with a real business model?

I hope im wrong for his sake, he may bore the arse off me but crikey, who'd wish that on anyone?

Picsearch supplies MSN Image Search

Thread Title: MSN search partners with Picsearch Thread Url: Thread Description:

MSN continue their race to catch up. Remember what Ballmer said a few months back? "We will catch up, we will surpass"....

Picsearch announced today that it has entered into an agreement to supply the new MSN Search service with image search services. Picsearch already provides the pictures seen when you conduct an image search at Ask Jeeves or Lycos Europe

SMA-NA WebSite is now LIVE

Thread Title: SMA-NA is now LIVE Thread Url: Thread Description:

The SMA-NA WebSite is now live which means that SMA-NA is now an actual entity. Unfortunately, the site just looks like a resource site and bulletin board.

Search Engine Strategies - New York

Thread Title: SES NYC 28th March - 3rd February Thread Url: Thread Description:

Barry reminds us that it's SES NYC next week - with Jerry Yang of Yahoo on keynote - so, are you going, and what do you expect to get out of this one?

Live Coverage You can also pick up Barry's live coverage here - Feel free to say hi in this thread if you're at SES!

Finding talented SEO/SEM staff

Thread Title: [goes nowhere] Thread Url: Thread Description:

I’m sure most of you here have experience the same problem as I’m having now.

I desperately need to hire SEM staff for my team. The only problem is I can’t find anyone who can impress me here in London. Sure I get lots of applicants from India offering to work remotely, but I need a client facing SEM guru (possibly an Oxymoron). I get a number of applications from 18-23 year olds with no degree and only six months experience but the current market means they are commanding >£35k.

As if this was not hard enough already, I need to find someone with at least 2 years experience, degree and good business sense – I’ve got up to £45k but I’m starting to think that anyone who has this CV would never want to work for a London agency when they could probably make twice this at home part time.

Is it possible that everyone with any skill is either working for themselves at home or is setting up/running their own business?

I’m beginning to think I will not be able to find anyone and SEM is destine to become a fragmented industry of small 1-2 person operation not dissimilar to electricians and plumbers.

Does anyone have a secret? Can anyone see SEM agencies being able to hold onto talented SEM staff?

FAST Jump into the SEO Game

Thread Title: FAST Launches Search Best Practices Consulting Service Thread Url: Thread Description:

Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), a developer of enterprise search and real-time alerting technologies, has announced the launch of its FAST Search Best Practices consulting services (FAST SBP). Designed to help clients maximize the value they extract from their investment in search technology.

Two options - a half day workshop or a multi day workshop

So, FAST enter the SEO/SEM field huh?

Yahoo to buy stake in IndiaTimes

Thread Title: Yahoo goes for an Indian Thread Url: Thread Description:

India Times, India's largest web portal is being courted by Yahoo the BBC is reporting.

Yahoo is keen to expand in India where internet usage is growing fast.

Potential funders?

Bennett Coleman separated its internet operation from the rest of the business in 2000, listing it separately on the Indian stock market.

Indiatimes is one of the country's most popular internet portals, attracting more than a billion monthly page views.

A great move to enter an obscenely large and expanding market by Yahoo