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

SMA-NA - Search Marketing Association North America to Launch

SEW moderator mcanerin will probably want my balls on a plate for posting this but it's okay, im feeling tough today heh...

Hot(ish) on the heels of SMA-UK and SMA-EU comes SMA-NA.

The initial presidency will be filled by the aforementioned Ian McAnerin who is currently recruiting from the pools of Search Marketing Fora mods and admins.

Im not certain that's a good way to go, but as DUMPO have continously failed the industry and show no signs of change I'll not slate it for the time being heh...

SMA-NA will intitially cover Search Marketers located in US, Canada, Mexico.

Among interested parties so far are Christine Churchill who recently resigned from SEMPO and was one of the founding members. The new org is also getting heavy-weight support from the UK side in the shape of Mike Grehan and others.

Stay tuned for more.

Dont Laugh - Weblogsinc Want to run a Search Conference...

Really, it's true. In fact, thanks to to one Threadwatch member I've seen the pitch their VP of mktg and sales Shawn Gold is sending out to sell ad space to optimization companies...

Now, the question is: Is this just another case of Bloggers thinking they invented the internet or is there room in the conference space for another show and could they actually pull it off?

From the email pitch:

Quote: We will be creating a conference around the business of Search Engines and will be focusing on that area of the business.

-from Shawn Gold, Vice President of Weblogs Inc

What do Threadwatchers think? Room for another search conference alongside Search Engine Strategies and Webmasterworld's World of Search? If so, could Weblogsinc pull it off?

Google to Buy Flickr early 2005?

Thread Title: Next Google acquisition: Flickr + Picasa 2.0 = Fotoogle Thread Url: http://www.bladam.com/archives/0412190006.htm Thread Description:

Speculation is growing that Google may buy moblogging site Flickr early 2005 and integrate it with recently purchased Picasa.

The theory runs like this:

It would bridge the gap between off and online photos It would enrich the Google image DB Flickr has many G Friendly features and characteristics

Jeremy Zawodny was not so full of joy with the notion:

I think Google has a good track record in this department so far (namely Picasa and Blogger), but I'd just hate to see a great service like Flickr get screwed up before its time.

What do you think? Is it a sensible/credible move?

It does appear to make sense to me, for all of the reasons given in the posts referenced above and more - Flickr is cool... and it fits neatly with Googles Blogger.com

Thoughts?

Concerns over the Google Library Project

Thread Title: Something fishy with Google library project Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=3400 Thread Description:

In the threadlink above, king of the Google Conspiracy Theory™ Everyman aka Daniel Brandt makes some interesting observations as to how long it would take Google to complete their library project.

Let's run 24-hours a day (three shifts of temp workers at minimum wage!) and assume that the wizards at the Googleplex will never have any down time. How many days is this? 383,969 / 24 = 15,999 days.

How many years is this? 15,999 / 365.25 = 43.8 years. Even their cookie won't last that long!

Followed by NFFC quoting a Times article that raises the issue surrounding copyrights and Googles new project:

There is, of course, a more worrying possibility. By the act of converting printed books to digital form Google will be creating a new copyright.

Works in the public domain will effectively be privatised. Whether or not Google chooses to exercise its rights, it and its library partners will be owners of the newly processed property. So the vast reservoir of material in the out-of-copyright public domain will become “proprietary”, or pay-per-view. If we get access, it will be because we are “allowed”, not because we have the right.

Daniel's points are interesting, but the Times piece's questions about copyright concern me far more that the mathematics and logistics of the task ahead.

John Battelle also had some interesting thoughts on monetization of Google Library and Google Print:

In other words, this could well be a step toward diversifying Google's revenue streams away from advertising and into direct sales and/or subscriptions - ie, the content business. As one source who is familiar with the industry tells me, Google is not doing this only out of the kindness of its heart - there is a lot of money to be made in selling books, in particular books with no copyright.

DoubleClick Execs ready to Jump - Golden Parachutes Clutched Tightly

Thread Title: DoubleClick Your Money Back Thread Url: http://www.thestreet.com/_googlen/markets/dumbestgm/10199546_3.html Thread Description:

Doublclick's top 5 execs have just received "retention agreements" ie. golden parachutes.

The deal is, if they hang around for the next 5mts they'll get a $150,000 bonus, if they manage to stick it out for another 9mts they'll get $300,000, if they get their arses fired in that time, they get payed out in FULL.

MarketingVOX suggests that the short term nature of the bonuses may suggest a deal is in play...

MSN & Hidden Links for MSN Search Advertising

Thread Title: MSN & Hidden Links for MSN Search Advertising Thread Url: http://advertising.msn.com/searchadv/ Thread Description:

Hover your mouse just to the right of the butterfly on the MSN page threadlinked above...

Hidden links eh? Hope Google don't ban them hehe....

This catch bought to you courtesty of rumours@threadwatch.org - thanks to the anon source who mailed me :)

Googles $300M Secret

Thread Title: Searching for Google -- Shhhhh, it's a secret Thread Url: http://crm.ittoolbox.com/news/dispnews.asp?i=124767&t=99 Thread Description:

Google have apparently shelled out $300M on a new datacenter in a Georgia industrial park. About 100 employees in a non descript unmarked building with no windows - pffft! 007 eat your heart out hah!

This from the CRM Knowledgebase threadlink above:

Almost without notice, the Internet search company has tiptoed about 100 employees and a significant investment into a windowless building in a Douglas County industrial park near Six Flags Over Georgia.

There's no sign on the building, no logo on the locked glass door, nothing to indicate that an Internet icon has come to town.

A note taped to the door points visitors to a buzzer, which prompts a polite, but firm, female voice to shoo you away. The voice can't --- or won't --- confirm you've found Google, or even if you're in the right place.

It's all very mysterious.

So why the big hush hush? Sheesh, google are news, if sergey farts it hits the homepage of every major industry site on the net - did they think they'd be able to keep 100 people and all the people they know quiet for long?

You gotta love it... link via IG via SEWB

Crunch Time for Agencies - Rumours of Agency Kick Backs being Pulled

Thread Title: Threadwatch Rumours Thread Url: http://www.threadwatch.org/rumours Thread Description:

Rumous are coming in anonymously via rumours@threadwatch.org that the "big two" PPC providers in UK (Google & Overture) may be pulling lucrative agency kick backs in 2005.

Agencies with large ad spends are currently enjoying up to 15% commissions on ad buys from the larger players and that may all be about to go POOF!

Currently, Google apparently say that Agencies must be a member of the IPA to get agency discount but according to Threadwatch sources this is known to be not the case. Overture and Google both discourage strongly any talk of agency discounts.

This could impact agencies in more than just the immediate and obvious financial sense as many agencies are reported to be sharing the kick backs with their clients in order to close the deal. One top industry exec was quoted:

"I am lead to believe that agency discounts are to be pulled in q1 05 by the big 2, change of business model needed for many people."

Information is still coming in so if we get more, you'll see it here.

BlogEthics.org - Calacanis in Blog Spam Scandal

Thread Title: Comment Spam not from me… BzzAgent and WOMMA taking the low road? Thread Url: http://calacanis.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000380022818/ Thread Description:

Jason Calacanis is in a bit of hot water over his newly formed blogethics.org - A kind of self appointed watchdog for bloggers (perish the thought..)

Turns out that some cheeky bugger is running a bot making blog spam comments about his latest pet hates Womma and BzzAgent

It's kiiler funny, but i cant beleive it's him so fair play eh? lol...

NYT up for Major Redesign Next Year - Leaked Email

Thread Title: NYTimes.com Seeks Fresh Talent as it Preps for Redesign Thread Url: http://www.micropersuasion.com/2004/12/nytimescom_seek.html Thread Description:

Steve at MP in the threadlink above has the scoop on the New York Times putting out an internal call regarding the first site redesign in 4yrs with special attention given RSS and G news:

"Next year, the site will embark on its first redesign in four years in an Internet environment that has changed dramatically. Back then there were no Google News or RSS feeds, or even much broadband outside the workplace. Also, video's time on the Web hadn't really arrived. The growth of new technologies like Google News and RSS represent major challenges and opportunities for our storytelling. How we respond will be critical for the long-term health of NYTimes.com."

btw, untill i get a page up for this, anonymous rumour can be sent to rumours@threadwatch.org

More Public Spam Reporting at SearchEngineWatch Forums

Thread Title: [ thread removed - link goes to TW homepage ] Thread Url: http://www.threadwatch.org/ Thread Description:

That idiot Doug Heil is at it again naming two sites he has found using sloppy techniques and gleefully informing everyone about his super discovery as if he's saving the damn planet.

Sheeeesh, now i've got a picture of him in large red underpants and a cape, it just doesn't bear thinking about ...ugh!

SEW - An unsafe place for search marketers? Worse than Dougs silly games though is the fact that board admin Elisabeth is allowing this. As a member of that site im just glad it's not one of my websites put up in the forums for a public execution. Lord knows what that girls thinking of..

I wrote a long post on why I think public outings of websites on search marketing forums are bad for all members a while back and at the time the admins nodded and made all the right noises but made no firm decision on policy.

As it stands SEW, despite frequent debate, arguments and pleas on both side of the "should we report spam at SEW" contraversy, have still not anchored a firm policy on such posts.

It makes me very, very edgy about posting there at all.

Incoming....! The Blogosphere gets Ethics - Heaven Help us all....

Thread Title: Blog ethics movement afoot Thread Url: http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/001738.php Thread Description:

Holy sh!t, when will the madness end eh?

Jason Calacanis has taken it upon himself to police the blogs. Wore, Nick Denton is backing him - Who do these people think they are?

Hey! I've got a popular blog, i guess that means everyone else with a blog is stupid and needs telling that. It's clearly my god given duty to inform the public of bad blogs and blog posts and protect society from evil bloggers! --- Give me a break...

Remind you of anyone we know in the web dev world?

Oilman Quits Webmasterworld - Yet another high profile admin Quits

Thread Title: thanks for the memories Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum10/7268.htm Thread Description:

After losing Webguerrilla, MacGuru, and Shak this week, webmasterworld.com takes yet another body blow as Todd Friesen, aka Oilman, bails on the beleaguered webmastering forum.

Todd was, in recent times, responsible for sponsorship of the webmaster world shows that held thier roots in Mike Mackins original Pubcon idea. He's been around pretty much from the start and im sure that the membership will miss him.

I can only guess at what's going on backstage their now, but word on the street has it that all is not well in the moderators forums as news of Brett Tabkes plans for the future of wmw were thrown upon the mod staff without notice or apparent thought. This information comes from several, very reliable sources but has not been confirmed in public.

Here's oilmans post. It's also threadlinked above.

I'm posting in Webmaster General rather than Community News because this forum has been my home and my responsiblity for about 4 years now and I feel this is the best place for this news.

It's been an amazing almost 5 years since I joined up here at WebmasterWorld. I have been honoured to have your trust and respect over the years as I climbed from member to moderator to administrator. Thank you for the support.

The time has come for the oilman to move on. Thanks to my run here I've been given some incredible opportunites to pursue and I simply can't fit it all on the calendar anymore.

This has been a very difficult decision to make but it couldn't be put off any longer.

I promise I'll stick around and post from time to time and I will always support WebmasterWorld and this community.

and by the way, it was oilman that turned me on to a LOT of what has helped me make my way on the web.

Cheers m8

WebmasterWorld Bans the Mention of Search Engine Strategies

Thread Title: windy city december search conference [WMW Subscribers Only] Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum78/7299.htm Thread Description:

Forgive me for posting a link to a "Supporters Only" thread, but I felt it was something worth bringing up.

When I decided to leave WebmasterWorld, I made the decision to go as quitely as possible, but this thread is making that decision a bit hard to stick to.

Sometime yesterday, long time WmW member (and conference speaker) Chicago posted a thread intitled

SES Chicago - who's going?

(Very similar to this thread: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=2744)

At last year's Chicago SES, Chicago hosted a nice private party for WmW members. His reason for posting the thread in the Supporter's section was to try and get an idea of how many members would be in town, so he could plan another party.

Someting today, a Supporters forum Admin changed the title of the thread to read

windy city search conference (without sending a sticky to Chicago)

When I first saw it, I thought it was a new thread announcing PubCon 7.333, but it turned out to just be the SES thread with a new title. Apparently, it isn't appropriate to promote Danny's show in that way. Letting that title stand might result in some WmW members deciding to attend.

I can't even begin to explain how dissapointed I am. Taking such a stance is probably the most disrespectful, rude and childish thing I've ever seen BT do.

Lycos Shafted by Backbone Providers

Thread Title: Lycos Screensaver Site Blocked by Internet Backbones Thread Url: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2004/12/02/lycos_screensaver_site_blocked_by_internet_backbones.html Thread Description:

News just in: Lycos have been told (figuratively speaking) to f**k right off by internet backbone providers:

Some major internet backbones are preventing access to the new Lycos "anti-spam" screensaver web site at www.MakeLoveNotSpam.com. This controversial site provides Internet users with the ability to participate in distributed attacks against web sites used by spammers, leaving the spammers with slow connections and high bandwidth costs.

We have been talking about Lycos's DDoS attack scheme and how later it was hacked recently and i must say that im glad to see it failing - what a stupid little stunt...

Shak Resigns as Moderator at WMW

Thread Title: PPC and Online Advertising Guru Shak resigns at WMW Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/3986.htm Thread Description:

What can I say? It's sad to yet another very good friend leave the community where so many relationships have be formed over the years.

Neither Google, WebmasterWorld or I am the same as we were a few years back. change is guaranteed and is a good thing (imo)

Knowing Shak, I'm certain that was the right thing to do. Maybe he'll find a new home here at TW? :)

Stay in touch will ya?!

Google grants Amnesty for Spammers to Help Fix Glitch

Thread Title: Let's Test Hijacking A Google Listing Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showpost.php?p=25241&postcount=51 Thread Description:

In a surprise move on the SEW forums Googles unofficial representative and Threadwatch member GoogleGuy, a well known figure on some of the bigger search marketing forums has granted Amnesty to Spammers in order to get help.

Google have called for examples of the now infamous Google Results Hijacking scandal that has been buzzing through the Search community this week and last. In a thread where members have tried to get help with this problem the unnamed Google search engineer said:

I'll promise that no spam-related action will be taken based on the reports. If months later, the domain comes up for review for an unrelated reason, then that's a different matter, but I'll instruct whoever collects the feedback to only use it to check out how we pick canonical pages.

The reason for the amnesty is due to the fact that when GG called for examples of the hijack problem none were forthcoming - the technique is known to but a few and is being used almost exclusively in highly competitive categories such as pharma and casino. Nobody in that industry plays by googles guidelines as to do so would be a waste of time in such a cut throat environment.

The results of a page hijacking involve the victim site's position in Google being taken over by another competing site through use of 302 redirects and meta refreshes.

We will update you the story unfolds.

Google Pagerank for entertainment purposes only?

Thread Title: Google Pagerank for entertainment purposes only?!?! Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=3054 Thread Description:

I know Google PR has been pretty wonky now more than ever, but for entertainment purposes only? This comes from a thread over as SEW

"The PageRank that is displayed in the Google Toolbar is for entertainment purposes only. Due to repeated attempts by hackers to access this data, Google updates the PageRank data very infrequently because is it not secure. On average, the PR that is displayed in the Google Toolbar is several months old. If the toolbar is showing a PR of zero, this is because the user is visiting a new URL that hasn't been updated in the last update. The PR that is displayed by the Google Toolbar is not the same PR that is used to rank the webpage results so there is no need to be concerned if your PR is displayed as zero. If a site is showing up in the search results, it doesn't not have a real PR of zero, the Toolbar is just out of date"

Google News Bombs Again: Bush Arrested for War Crimes

Thread Title: Google News: Bush Arrested Thread Url: http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2004_12_01_index.html#110192063491930684 Thread Description:

G blogoscoped have some screenshots of a new Google News Bomb featuring Pres. Bush arrested for war crimes...

This broadcast was bought to you by Algorithmic News! - It's not our fault!

More Approved Cloaking at Google

Thread Title: Working With Google Scholar -- And More Approved Cloaking Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/041201-063855 Thread Description:

Danny Sullivan has a great piece on a pet topic of his, "google and approved cloaking" - it's pet topic of mine too :)

This was lifted from this Google Scholar piece over at the new G Scholar blog.

The second issue was to ensure that the crawler got the full text so they could work their on the full content rather than just the titles and abstracts. A bit of sleight-of-hand at our end ensured that the crawler got what it needed but with the URLs in the Google index being a suitable entry point for an end user.

Sleight of hand indeed...

Danny goes into all the detail you need, get on over there and check it out...