Industry rumours, scandal and intrigue - it's all here.

More Google Calendar Rumours

Thread Title: Google Calendar Coming Soon? Thread Url: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/02/2332240&tid=217&tid=95 Thread Description:

This time it's a /. thread with speculation about the Google calendar. I first saw it mentioned in the well known Yahoo! employee & blogger Jermy Zawodny's blog, or rather via anoter site that linked to it (which one escapes me).

Now, isn't this whole thing kinda odd? *lol*

Search Marketers Clueless about Blogs

Thread Title: Blogs A Wildly Popular Topic at Search Engine Strategies NYC Thread Url: http://www.whatsnextblog.com/archives/2005/03/blogs_a_wildly.asp Thread Description:

B.L. Ochman reporting on the interest in Blogs at SES NYC:

Anything to do with blogs is turning out to be wildly popular at the Search Engine Strategies Show in New York. The level is very basic -- what is a blog is still (arggh!) the big question.

Many big companies, who seem to operate in their own time zone, are finally waking up to the fact that blogs are a valuable marketing tool. Of course, they won't be valuable for long if everyone and her dog starts one.

Er.. eveyone has started one! hehe... She's wrong there, like everything else, the 80/20 rule will prevail.

Ms Ochman, a blog is a website ya know? Same rules apply...

Dougal Evil Toolbar V3 BETA

Thread Title: Dougal Evil Toolbar V3 BETA Thread Url: http://www.dougaltoolbar.com/ Thread Description:

Ok, I've been sitting on this a couple of days while the developer messed around getting it just right: Dougal Evil Toolbar Version 3 BETA

It's not me :) If i'd been able to code that, i'd have put my whois on it, we've already been loud enough about the Google Autolink Toolbar so what harm one more? The Threadwatch member who wrote it runs an SEO business with clients to worry about though.

So, in fear of his rankings, he wants to remain anonymous.

Things to see and do... You need to run it in Explorer - just like the real thing! Try it on the Google Blog Remember to hit "AutoThink" when you've reached the page Check out all the RED LINKS Then check out all the links at the top right of the page They're quite amusing :) Pass it on, it's fun, and non-profit :)

Thanks Agent X - very, very funny heh...

Yahoo! Contextual Ads for Blogs and Small Publishers

Thread Title: Yahoo's Contextual Ads in the Wild Thread Url: http://waxy.org/archive/2005/02/28/yahoos_c.shtml Thread Description:

Back in November we reported on a rumour that Yahoo were considering an Adsense style system for small publishers.

This now appears to be true, in fact, there is some pretty compelling evidence being presented at Waxy

Ken Rudman is a product manager at Yahoo-owned Overture, and his blog features contextual Overture ads throughout. His homepage shows the vertical two-ad format, monthly archives show a three-ad horizontal format, and individual entries show another variation of the horizontal format. The ads have decent relevancy, especially considering its early state.

As Andy points out, the JS generating the iframe that contains the ads is hosted at overture and the url refers to YPN - Yahoo Publishing Network anyone?

The relevancy seems a bit off, but lord knows we need a viable alternative to adsense!

Google spooks the CIA

Only the Americans would have a law that allowed this to happen. A Newsweek article

Quote: Aviation obsessives with cameras and Internet connections have become a threat to cover stories established by the CIA to mask its undercover operations and personnel overseas. Quote: Google searches revealed that plane spotters Web-posted numerous photos of two private aircraft-one a small Gulfstream jet and the other a midsize Boeing 737-registered to obscure companies suspected of CIA connections. Quote: One critical database, accessible via Google, was a central aircraft registry maintained by the government's own FederalAviation Administration. Quote: Intel sources say the CIA's own lawyers years ago decreed that under U.S. law the agency must register its aircraft-including their tail numbers and the front companies that own them-with public authorities like the FAA, even though this could provide clues to clandestine activity.

I think we all know that once anything gets indexed, then its well neigh impossible to stop people like you and me finding it.

Microsoft identifies Firefox as Spyware [hoax?]

Thread Title: MS roots out firefox spyware. Thread Url: http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/showthread.php?threadid=26937 Thread Description:

Seems like M$ is taking a shot at Firefox by indentifying the rival browser as Spyware in it's Anti-Spyware software Beta. See the screenshot here.

Reminds me of when they changed the way the Hotmail pages worked a few hours after Opera released a new version of it's rival browser. Dirty tactics seem the norm no?

If anyone can find a good news link to the opera fiasco, please drop it in the comments - i couldn't :( - thanks slashdot

Top-pile Cease Trading [updated]

Thread Title: Bye bye Top-pile - Pedlers of SALSA and top4clicks cease trading Thread Url: http://www.top-pile.com Thread Description:

UPDATED by Nick: We've now been sent what appears to be an email sent out to clients by CEO Paddy Bolger - I cannot guaruntee it's authenticity, but the source is reliable and it looks like the real deal to me:

It is with great regret that I have to inform you that Top-pile.com Ltd has no alternative but to cease trading with immediate effect. It is intended to place the company into voluntary liquidation immediately aftera shareholders meeting in 3 weeks time.

This situation has arisen as a result of very poor trading in the last 12 months, which in turn was primarily caused by the probelms we have encountered with search engines during that time.

Our problems began with the SALSA system in February, 2004. In the month prior to that we achieved record traffic through the SALSA system of over 90,000 visitors per day and client satisfaction was at an all-time high. Then in February we lost approximately half of our positions in Google and traffic dropped to about 50,000 visitors per day. We spent the following month conducting extensive analysis of the Google changes and trying to understand why one half of the SALSA sites had disappeared and the other half were still performing. This exercise became academic when, in mid-March 2004, we lost the remaining positions in Google and traffic dropped to 15,000 visitors per day.

The situation was worsened by the fact that Yahoo had just launched a new index and search engine and we had yet to feature prominently in it and inktomi's abandonment of Paid Inclusion meant that we were also suffering in MSN.

There is much more, but i wont bore you with all of it..

END UPDATE

It appears that SEO company Top Pile have ceased trading. I've Just been sent this from Safe Buy (safebuy.org.uk):

In a previous newletter we published this input from a member:

iTunes Ripping off UK Consumers

Thread Title: Songs more expensive in UK than France, Germany etc. Thread Url: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/25/ec_probes_apple/ Thread Description:

UK consumers are used to paying more for the same products and services as everyone else but it seems EC want to level the playing field for MP3 fans..

The European Commission (EC) has confirmed it is looking into allegations that Apple's iTunes Music Store discriminates against UK consumers by charging them more to download the same song than it charges other European music buyer

In the UK, the iTunes Music Store charges customers 79p (€1.14) to download a single track. The same song costs €0.99 when it's downloaded from Apple's other European music shops.

Barnes & Noble move to Thwart Google AutoLink

Thread Title: Barnes & Noble Overrides Google Toolbar AutoLink Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050224-120931 Thread Description:

Danny Sullivan reports that Barnes & Noble have linked all of the ISBN's on their pages - Almost certainly an attempt to Thwart the much hated new Google AutoLink feature.

They could have Javascript solution we posted earlier in the week but this will certainly work just as well as Google will not link text that is already linked.

Sneaky Microsoft Patch Changes Users Hompage's

Thread Title: Sneaky Microsoft Patch Thread Url: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2005/tc20050224_8905_tc205.htm?campaign_id=rss_techn Thread Description:

If you weren't extra careful during the Feb 8th windows update your default homepage may have been reset.

Here's what seems to have happened to your computers. On Feb. 8, as part of a huge batch of Windows security updates, Microsoft released a patch for a "critical" vulnerability in MSN Messenger that could allow hostile code to be hidden in an image. Within a couple of days, information on how to exploit the vulnerability was circulating on the Internet, and Microsoft decided it needed to take further, more drastic action to protect Messenger users. So it made installation of the patch mandatory.

However, Microsoft went a bit further than was strictly necessary. During the course of installing of the update, the user is offered several options unrelated to security, one of which is "Make MSN My Home Page." It is checked by default. So if you don't pay close attention -- and you should always pay close attention to these options when doing any sort of installation -- the next time you start IE, your home page will have changed. This is perilously close to the browser hijacking that's a characteristic of many spyware programs.

eBay in Shill Bidding Scandal

Thread Title: eBay plays down 'shill' bidding allegations Thread Url: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/24/ebay_shill_lawsuit/ Thread Description:

If true this is well dodgy, would they really do this and think they would not get caught?

Giant auction site eBay is being sued for allegedly using "shill" bidding against its own customers to force up prices and increase the fees it's able to charge.

Rumour: Yahoo! have bought Flickr

Thread Title: Flickr, Yahoo Deal Rumored Thread Url: http://business2.blogs.com/business2blog/2005/02/flickr_yahoo_de.html Thread Description:

It had to, or will have to, happen sooner or later. Last year, rumours were flying that maybe Google would buy Flickr, then we heard that Yahoo! and Google had both offered to buy Flickr Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, the folks behind Ludicorp, who own the immensely popular photo blogging service Flickr have been holding out though, untill perhaps now.

Om Malik reports for Business2 that rumours are flying in Silicon Valley that a deal may have been struck between Yahoo! and Flickr for an undisclosed amount last week. The same rumour has it that Yahoo! are holding off on an official announcement untill March 1st.

If it's true - it's HOT news for sure...

Was AskJeeves' Bloglines deal cheaper than rumoured?

Thread Title: Marketing Shift: Rumors Inflate Bloglines Acquisition Price Thread Url: http://www.marketingshift.com/2005/02/rumors-inflate-bloglines-acquisition.cfm Thread Description:

Jason is reporting over at Marketing Shift and WebProNews (same content, choose your poison) that:

Ask Jeeves didn't pay anywhere near the $50 million dollars some speculate they did

and also implying that AJ are good at negotiating acquisition deals that favour them. I have nothing more to say, I'm rather apathetic to the whole shebang, but its arguably an interesting addition to the rumour mill.

Where's my trackback button? Hmpf.

Confirmation: Google's AutoLink created by Smart Tag Inventor

Thread Title: Smart Tag Creator Behind Google's New Autolink Feature Thread Url: http://www.micropersuasion.com/2005/02/smart_tag_creat.html Thread Description:

On Thursday last week we reported on Google's AutoLink toolbar feature being remarkably similar to Microsofts aborted Smart Tags scheme some years back.

Now we have it confirmed that Jeff Reynar, an ex-M$ employee responsible for Smart Tags is the man behind Googles new AutoLink.

As many have pointed out, Google may well be able to get away with things that Microsoft couldn't, but im sure everyone will be watching this "feature" very, very closely...

Gmail goes live

I've just received an email from Google about Gmail. Now I already have a GMail account so I guess this is a standard mailing to everyone who has ever expressed an interest and infers that GMail has come out of Beta. Follow the title link for the full post

Google pulling Smart Tags Caper with Toolbar

Thread Title: Google Emulates Microsoft, Uh Oh Thread Url: http://dangillmor.typepad.com/dan_gillmor_on_grassroots/2005/02/google_emulates.html Thread Description:

Dan Gillmor points out, as have a few others, that the new toolbar from Google is emulating the old Smart Tags scheme M$ had to back away from a while back.

No, Google doesn't control the operating system, and if I understand this correctly the feature isn't turned on by default (please correct me if this is not the case). Moreover, it only works with certain kinds of terms, and you have to explictly download the toolbar in the first place. And, of course, no one has to use this -- one more reason to choose Firefox as your browser, anyway.

All of those caveats aside, it's still a bad idea, and an unfortunate move by a company that is looking to continue its hypergrowth. With its enormous market share in search, Google is starting to act in ways that are reminiscent of our favorite monopolist. As Dave Winer observes, this is near enough to changing Web content as to be worrisome.

Gary Price said on "auto link":

This might not only be useful to you but the commercial possibilities are massive. With "AutoLink" enabled, web pages will be "enhanced" with additional links if Google thinks additional information might be helpful. For example, say your browsing a web page with numerous addresses on it. AutoLink will turn each of those addresses into direct links to the Google Maps database. Google currently offers AutoLinks for the following info (if it's recognized on the web page your looking at or found in other material your viewing in your browser):

and microsoft-watch chimes in with:

Circling back to Michael's question, should there be a red flag raised over Google's seemingly similar tact? Yes--and Google has taken some criticism for mixing Web and desktop search results. At least with Microsoft's approach, Smart Tags could have been used to drive traffic to partner Websites, not just the company's own Internet properties.

Link Tool put on ice pending Discussions with Search Engines

Thread Title: Link Tool put on ice due to fear of SE repercussions Thread Url: http://www.threadwatch.org/node/1494 Thread Description:

UPDATE: Due to comments made by Google and many, many warnings from 3rd parties, our major sponsor has decided to pull out rather than risk repercussions from the Search Engines - We are in talks with other companies, and are working to find a way to build the tool whilst remaining within Google TOS - See GoogleGuy's comments pointing out the TOS for more details.

Talks with Search Engines We are currently talking to several search engines to find a way forward that will benefit all parties.

At present, we are in a state of indecision: Some questions need to answered:

Can a link analysis tool be built within Google TOS and still be useful? If we do get to build it, and it's within TOS, will our sponsor, and Threadwatch (and any other sites i build) be free from repercussions?

Please use the existing thread to comment

Thanks.

Mamma is in trouble...

Thread Title: Your Mamma is so bad at accounting that........ Thread Url: http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=ff476917-1679-4c30-8034-59305396d274 Thread Description:

The Mamma Search engine has lost its auditor and is

"unlikely" to present 2004 financial results before the March 31 deadline set by Canadian securities rules

Mamma has already been under investigation by U.S. SEC since April and today's news has sent its stock tumbling by over 30%. It doesn't look good for the Mamma of all Search Engines.

Jeeves to run Adwords Clone [lies lies lies...]

Thread Title: Ask Jeeves Joins Forces with Enhance to Offer Google AdWords Alternative Thread Url: http://www.searchenginelowdown.com/2005/02/ask-jeeves-joins-forces-with-enhance.html Thread Description:

UPDATE: Andy Beal is wiping a little egg of his face and i'd imagine that Enhance are busy backpeddling for all it's worth wih an angry Jeeves Rep about now. Apparently this was "creative wording" - Which means it's all bollocks.

SEL bring us news of a team up for Ask with Enhance Interactive:

According to an email being sent out by Enhance's account controllers, the paid search company has joined forces with Ask Jeeves, to offer any alternative to Google

from the email in question:

"We are happy to announce our new partnership with Ask Jeeves, Inc. This partnership allows Enhance.com advertisers to deliver contextually targeted, relevant ads that visually involve users and help express the value of their product or service. "

More as it happens...

Gates in Danish Government Blackmail Scandal

Thread Title: Gates tried to Blackmail Danish Government Thread Url: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/15/1334248&from=rss Thread Description:

I saw this Enquirer Story this morning but there was so little information i gave it a miss. Now the good geeks and freaks at Slashdot have picked it up however, it becomes much more fun..

Apparently "Bully Boy Gates" tried to blackmail the Danish government over the EU's software patents directive:

Bill Gates tried to pressure the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen into accepting the European Union's proposed directive on software patents by threating to terminate the 800 jobs at Navision, which had been acquired by Microsoft.

Naughtly naughtly billy boy!