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

Rumour - MSN is Out of BETA

Thread Title: MSN Search Beta May Now Be On Main Site Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050120-082648 Thread Description:

I've been following the thread SEW have on the forums but now Danny Sullivan adds a little weight to the beleif that folks are no longer just seeing flashes of the new BETA on the main results but the real deal has truly kicked in.

Threadwatch verdict?

Problems at Bloglines? - Lost Subscriber Data

Thread Title: Bloglines.com Thread Url: http://www.bloglines.com Thread Description:

Checking through my feeds this morning in Bloglines i notice that there is no record of how many subscribers there are to each blog anymore. When you click the link that says "subscribers" (it would normally have the number next to it) it just tells you that there are no subscribers with public profiles for this blog...

Why is this important? Well, it's not earth shatteringly imporant heh.. but i do (and i assume many others do) take a great interest in the number of people subscribed to the Threadwatch feed - it's a silly way of keeping score and i just can't resist stuff like that :-)

Rumour - Google about to Kill Comment Spam

Thread Title: rel=nofollow Thread Url: http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2005/01/17/relNoFollow Thread Description:

On Friday we reported on a strange post at Dave Winers site that said:

Last night I got an email from someone I've been wanting to hear from for a long time. There's a problem on the Internet, a big one, that only one entity can solve. The email outlined the solution and asked what I thought of it, and asked me not to say what it is publicly.

He went on to say that he had implemented the idea on one of his sites. Well, Simon Willison thinks he may have discovered what this is...

Google to Quash Comment Spam

Originally i had followed Todd at GeekCentral's surmise that the mystery email was from either Steve Jobs or Bill Gates - but Simon has spotted this on Dave's Bloggercon site. Check out the comments link and view the source!

<a href="someblogsite.com" rel="nofollow">

Which, if Simon is correct in saying:

Google are soon to announce that they won't be calculating PageRank for links with a rel="nofollow" attribute. Finally, an official way of fighting the economics of comment spam by denying PageRank on user-submitted link content.

would eventually have some effect on comment spam as a technique for rankings.

If true, would it solve the comment spam issue?

I think not. There are many reasons why this would not work. In fact, we have talked about the solutions available a lot in recent months and i hold to my original point: You need to stop automated commenting - not deincentivize it!

Another Major Security Hole Revealed by Yahoo and Google

Thread Title: export processes language changelog phpmyadmin Thread Url: http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=sfp&p=export+processes+language+changelog+phpmyadmin Thread Description:

Hot on the heals of the recent Google unsecured Webcams search news comes in via rumours@threadwatch.org of an even more serious security breach made available by search engine queries.

The latest discovery is that you can search for export processes language changelog phpmyadmin at Yahoo and return a list of open, vulnerable MySQL database servers.

In the wrong hands, and with a little advanced search knowledge that query can be tweaked to find ecom sites and all manner of havoc wreaked.

Yahoo! have been alerted, but at the moment the vulnerability is still easily found. This is not Yahoo's fault of course, this is a problem with the hugely poplular Open Source MySQL database and the way in which it has been deployed on some websites. The search just hightlights those servers able to be manipulated.

You can do the same search on Google, but it's less accessible as you have to add filter=0 to the end of the url string.

ADDED: Testing 1,2,3....

I've just tested this on a staged install by a friend and can assert that it works well. I was able to delete tables and access data very simply.

Another GMail Security Hole [Fixed]

Full details from HBX Networks but picked up from Web Pro News

Quote: We do realize that GMail is an invitation-only service, in a beta-test state of development. Nevertheless, many people rely upon GMail heavily, and many more people are forced to communicate with GMail users, because of this reliance. These people should expect their communications to be vulnerable to interception, at least until GMail corrects the issue. And the appearance of this issue, at the user level, probably indicates a failure in GMail's code review and/or quality assurance standards, which may result in other, similar errors. We did not explore GMail for additional such errors, but based upon the nature of this one, we are confident that such exploration would bear interesting fruit. (Note to GMail's development teams: we are available for hire! Cheaply! ;-P)

I'm sure this will be fixed very quickly but will things like this knock the share price?

Ask Jeeves Pushing Spyware onto your Computer?

Thread Title: Is Ask Jeeves Behind Browser HiJackers? Thread Url: http://www.martinibuster.net/2005/01/is-ask-jeeves-behind-browser-hijackers.html Thread Description: The Little Engine that Could - Infect your Computer!

My mate Roger points out on his blog, threadlinked above, that Ask Jeeves is behind some particularly nasty spyware - namely:

MyWay MyWebSearch Smiley Central, and Cursor Mania

Ask Jeeves last year acquired a company called myway and mywebsearch. Their toolbar products are referred to by many as spyware. In fact, if you search on Google for MywebSearch, most of the results are websites telling you how to remove the mywebsearch toolbar.

Does Ask Jeeves Profit from Annoying Pest Products? Well, the answer depends on how you define the word pest. In addition to the MyWay and MyWebSearch products, Ask Jeeves is also profiting from the Smiley Central and Cursor Mania products. According to the PC Hell website, these products are identified as pests by the AdAware and SpyBot Search & Destroy anti-spyware products and are reported to be removed, along with browser hijackers and known spyware programs. If you read the removal instructions on the PC Hell website it will become very clear that they are extremely difficult to get rid of.

So Jeeves, how come? - wanna let us all know why you're promoting, and for all appearances profiting from nasty spyware programs?

MacWorld Blogging Boycott 0 - Story Greed 1

Thread Title: Apple's bite out of free speech Thread Url: http://www.lostremote.com/archives/003460.html Thread Description:

News comes in that Steve Safran at lost remote is calling for a blogging boycott on this weeks MacWorld expo over the recent law suits filed by apple against bloggers.

Well, bloggers may like to think special rights and privileges but here's the crux - they're just as human as the rest of us!

Threadwatch Prediction:

Bloggers forget all about law suits and wet pants over cool tech...

It just ain't gonna happen steve - everyone is going mad over the Mac Mini already and i cant see bloggers or anyone else being able to put the terrifying thought that their rival tech blogs may get the story first, or at all... heh..

SMA-NA - Threat to SEMPO $$$'s - Coll gets Knickers in Twist

Thread Title: Search Marketing Association of North America - SMA-NA Thread Url: http://mcanerin.blogspot.com/2005_01_01_mcanerin_archive.html#110512341284182355 Thread Description:

For those SEM's looking for a bit more info on the forthcoming SMA-NA (Search Marketing Association North America) you can find some interesting stuff at interim director Ian McAnerin's blog threadlinked above.

He also has some good stuff to say about DUMPO - the failed Search Engine Marketing Professional Association in his post that reveals much about the possible motivations behind the beleagured org and it's president.

A long time ago SEMPO got themselves into a bit of a flap because they had incorporated themselves as a Non-Profit, but then proceeded to break almost every rule known that non-profits are supposed to follow. It was a real mess.

I also discovered that although SEMPO is, in my opinion, fundementally broken, there are a lot of very good people who joined it because it's clear the industry needs a trade association.

The problem is that SEMPO is designed to cash in on big bucks sponsors and SEO firms. Key members have even stated that small SEO firms are "not their target audience".

To me, that was unforgivable. Small SEO firms and single SEO's working in IT departments form the vast majority of this industry. How can you claim to be an industry association if the industry is not your target audience? I have it on good authority that Google and Overture agree with me on this one.

Following a meeting in London with SMA-UK and SMA-EU committee members and setting up the framework for the new org Ian phoned Barbera Coll to resign from his seat on the DUMPO committee. The passage that follows, from Ian's post above is most telling i think...

Although the majority of the conversation was confidential, it was made very clear that SEMPO considers the SMA-NA to be a direct threat and a competitor for membership and sponsor dollars. Interesting that the SMA-UK and EU were not considered the same way. To me, that really confirmed the regional blinkers SEMPO wears. The concern about the money rather than the industry was also very interesting. Although it was mentioned that the industry would be better off with only one group (I agree BTW ;) ) this was mentioned in direct relation to funding.

MSN Messin' with Pics in Search Results [OLD NEWS]

Thread Title: Try this Query...... Thread Url: http://sea.search.msn.com/preview.aspx?&q=threadwatch Thread Description:

Well, check out the query above - pretty er.. noisey eh?

So MSN are playing around with images aswell as Google were reported to be - this is turning out to be quite the little "tit for tat" race isnt it?

kinda like archive.org...

thanks blogoscoped

MSTechTV to Launch Early Summer 2005 - Hoax?

Thread Title: Breaking News::MSTECHTV Confirmed!!! [ Post Removed - Hoax? ] Thread Url: http://www.threadwatch.org Thread Description:

Added: The original post has now been removed, adding fuel to the fire of this being a hoax - thanks Aaron!

Here's an interesting one, it appears that rumours of an MS Tech TV channel are true and that it will roll out in May/June this year - this is according to an M$ source quoted on the threadlinked blog post above:

"management doesn't want to let the people know of the network yet due to the fact that they want to create a huge uproar when it's time for the launch." So I guess MS wanted to make a huge shock. Well they did already. I then asked the PR executive of a MSTECHTV launch date. He said "MSTECHTV will launch sometime in May or June. We think it would be huge for a May 28th launch." TechTV fans all know what May 28th is symbolic for.

I dont know what May 28th is symbolic for, anyone care to fill me in?

This could all be bollocks of course, the comments that follow in the threadlinked blog post are mixed in their beleif so it's best taken with a pinch of salt. Interesting nonetheless though eh?

Boycotting iTunes in Protest at Blog Persecution?

Thread Title: How Apple is going to screw webloggers! Thread Url: http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/003590.html Thread Description:

Todd Cochrane at GeekNewsCentral is boycotting iTunes over the recent lawsuits filed against bloggers who have published juicy tips on forthcoming products.

Why would I do that, well how long will it be before someone passes me a juicy tip and I write about it and piss some company off. As has been mentioned around the blogsphere if this had been the New York Times or PC World they would not have touched them with a 10 foot pole.

One thing I can do immediately is this, I will no longer purchase any iTunes music or purchase any sort of Apple product as a consumer I can also make a statment with my pocket-book.

APPLE CEASE AND DESIST YOUR LAWSUITS AGAINST WEBLOGS!

As Todd rightly points out, if this were a large news site or traditional media, they wouldn't touch it would they? If Apple are going to behave like wankers, i wouldn't be surprised to see the blog community (and all that that implies downstream..) to treat them like wankers.

Apple Confirming Rumours by Suing ThinkSecret.com?

Thread Title: Apple suit foreshadows coming products Thread Url: http://news.com.com/Apple+suit+foreshadows+coming+products/2100-1047_3-5513582.html Thread Description:

Are Apple confirming rumours of a sub $500 Mac by suing Think Secret? From the threadlinked CNet story:

Apple on Tuesday sued the publisher of Mac enthusiast site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets, according to court documents seen by CNET News.com.

The suit, filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Calif., aims to identify who is leaking the information and to get an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets. However, in filing the suit, Apple identifies specific articles that contain trade secrets, indicating that at least parts of those reports are on the mark.

CES have Banned Bloggers - WTF?

Thread Title: The Consumer Electronics Show opens Minus Webloggers Thread Url: http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/003585.html Thread Description:

From this infoworld story:

"The CEA spent more time qualifying attendees this year to make sure everyone in attendance has a legitimate attachment to the consumer electronics industry, said Kristen Peiffer, a CEA spokeswoman. The show is not open to the general public, and the CEA does not allow the blogging community or other independent observers to attend the show."

and from the GNC post threadlinked above:

I would have went to CES instead they have banned all webloggers, thus I am flipping them the middle finger and will be going somewhere else besides Las Vegas for vacation. See not only will CES miss me, so will Las Vegas miss my wallet and my wife at the Blackjack table. Sure I could have lied on the application but who wants to go where they are not welcome.

Madness...

Adwords - One Affiliate per Merchant rule to be Announced 6th Jan

Thread Title: 1 affiliate per merchant to be announced tomorrow Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/4204.htm Thread Description:

ThomasB appears to have the scoop on the rumour that Google Adwords will be announcing 1 affiliate per merchant in the first week of Jan 2005.

Thomas, any chance of a summary of what that means?

Microsoft to Launch Fee-Based Anti-Spyware/Anti-Virus Bundle

Thread Title: Microsoft Readies 'A1' Security Subscription Service Thread Url: http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,1995,1747802,00.asp?kc=MWRSS02129TX1K0000535 Thread Description:

No, don't laugh, it's true...

Mary Jo Foley reports in the threadlink above that M$ are "rumoured" to be prepping for a fee-based anti-spyware and anti-virus solution according to loose tongued developers:

Publicly, Microsoft continues to be cagey about packaging and pricing plans for its anti-spyware and anti-virus solutions. But privately, Microsoft has begun informing partners of its plans for a security subscription service code-named "A1," according to developers who requested anonymity.

Apple Office Suite Rumour

Thread Title: Third-party app name change points to Apple iWork suite Thread Url: http://www.macminute.com/2005/01/03/iwork/ Thread Description:

Here's one to watch from Macminute threadlinked above via Tech Knowledge:

IGG Software today quietly changed the name of its flagship application, iWork, to iBiz. Rumors have been circulating through both the Mac Web and mainstream press about a possible Apple productivity suite--named iWork--to be introduced at Macworld Expo next week. It is not known whether IGG was forced to change the name of its software by Apple, or whether it simply believes the speculation and wants to differentiate its software in advance. IGG's Ian Gillespie offered a simple statement on the matter.

All eyes on Mac right now, as TK note in the link above M$ and Dell et all must be green with envy over the excitement Apple seem to generate so easily these days...

Google Thwarts Adwords Trojans - Too Late for Some

Thread Title: Google removes Trojan ads Thread Url: http://www.heise.de/english/newsticker/news/54740 Thread Description:

From hiese.de threadlinked above via SEL

Search engine operator Google has blocked ads that attempt to exploit security holes in the Internet Explorer. In the past few days, Google has been displaying context-sensitive ads on the right margin from its program partner AdWords that link to sites with dangerous JavaScript for various search terms such as "Preisvergleich" (price comparison) and "Gebraucht PC" (used PC). If you clicked on one of the links in the Internet Explorer, a JavaScript attempted to install spyware on your system. And the normal list of hits also included a lot of sites with Trojans.

This Monday, Google reacted to the problem almost 72 hours after heise Security had informed the company of the problem; all of the ads and sites in the full text index that were listed in the heise online ticker report were removed.

Why on earth did it take 72hrs to react? and are Google liable for damages?

Google Under Fire for Open Source Greed

Thread Title: Google - we take it all, give nothing back Thread Url: http://blog.kowalczyk.info/archives/2004/12/29/google-we-take-it-all-give-nothing-back/ Thread Description:

Googles Adam Bosworth takes an almightly slap from Krzysztof Kowalczyk and then whilst realing from the blow takes a kick in the nuts from Microsofts Dare Obasanjo as noted in this post at InsideGoogle.

The attacks center around a plea Adam made to the Open Source Community for improvements to relational database projects - the point being that Google take a lot from Open Source and give nothing back in return.

From the original post by Adam:

My message is to the Open Source community that has, so ably, built LAMP (Linux, Apache and Tomcat and MySQL and PHP and PERL and Python). Please finish the job. Do for databases what you did for web servers. Give us dynamism and robustness. Give us systems that scale linearly, are flexible and dynamically reconfigurable and load balanced and easy to use.

From Krzysztofs post:

Let’s estimate how much money did Google save by using open source software that they would otherwise have to purchase. The operating system for tens of thousands of their computers. Web servers they use. All the Unix utilities they use. Editors, compilers and debuggers they use to write their code. E-mail smtp server. E-mail pop servers. Languages like Perl and Python. Databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL. It’s safe to say that if Richard Stallman was never born, the licenses for those kinds of software would cost them tens of millions of dollars.

And what does Google contribute back? Where are their patches to gcc, gdb, python, postgresql, sendmail, emacs?

and from Dare's post:

I doubt that this is the kind of response that Adam Bosworth was expecting when he posted his plea. The fun thing about corporate blogs is that it gives people more places to read between the lines and learn how a company really thinks. I suspect this is why Google doesn't have many authentic bloggers and instead has favored the press release page masquerading as group blog approach at http://www.google.com/googleblog/

Rumour: M$ Release Blitz set for 2005

Thread Title: Microsoft readies burst of 2005 products Thread Url: http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=20421 Thread Description:

Speculation is growing that we may be set for a Microsoft product release blitz in 2005 - Including:

Antivirus Antispyware Voip and Longhorn client/server

Would make sense to tie in the new search tech with a media frenzy in progress about just about everything else M$...

Google Testing Images in Main Search Listings?

Thread Title: Google Test Images Within Google Web Search Thread Url: http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/001335.html Thread Description: If the screenshot is to be beleived then it looks like Google are testing the promotion of Google Image Search in their main listings. In the threadlink above, Barry Schwartz points to this thread by classione and this screenshot:

Now, is it just me or would that be just a tad annoying were it to become standard fayre at Google?

There would also be the enormous potential for innapropriate images being shown to minors and those of a more sensitive nature...