caption on image says - CAUTION Slippery Slope proudly brought to you by FISAIn a move that chills my bones yesterday George Bush attained congressional approval to make “a massive expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” (FISA). This security upgrade provides FISA with “the power to order Google, AT&T and Yahoo to forward to the government all e-mails, phone calls and text messages where one party to the conversation is thought to be overseas.” Source, Wired Blog Network.

So what does this mean to you? Obviously this is being done to catch terrorists and protect the American people… a noble pursuit without a doubt. Unfortunately, it also cuts off 3 vital methods of once private communication that journalists were able to utilize when researching stories using foreign contacts. After all, there is no way a journalist can feel comfortable connecting with a foreign source if they know the source is unprotected by journalistic confidentiality. As a result, a short time after the bill was passed the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of the bill. More information on that is available in the Wired posting that alerted me to this travesty of privacy. Read more…

SEO QUESTION:

“I have a number of websites used to market XYZ Travel. The main site features all products and a number of specialist / boutique websites feature duplicates of these products. Is this an acceptable practice or am I being penalized by Google? How can this be overcome?

“I accept that creative write-ups can be rewritten if essential but fact is fact – what can I do about factual data i.e. room numbers, types, facilities, amenities, address, rates, name etc?” Read more…

While cruising Google Reader I noted some great articles and tips that you shouldn’t miss. Have a great read and an excellent weekend!

  • Google LogoGoogle’s Matt Cutts gives tips on what page extensions Google does not index. In summary, don’t expect Google to index .exe extensions or URLs that end with a “.O” such as “www.xyzname.com/web2.0″; although Matt did note that the “.O” extension is being re-evaluated and tested for less troublesome indexing by Google.
  • An intro to Apple's new MobileMe application with an allusion to Dr EvilRobert X. Cringely wrote a great article on a “Microsoft-killer” strategy that he believes Apple is putting into play based on the new MobileMe service coming soon. Here is an excerpt:

    “Microsoft’s success is based on two products and only two products — Windows and Office. Microsoft is obsessed with the idea that Google will undermine one or both of those monopolies through Google Apps. This is all Steve Ballmer thinks about and is what made him so eager to spend $40+ billion for Yahoo. But what if the real threat isn’t Google at all, but Apple?” … Read more…

A picture of a fly swatter crushing a fly with Microsoft the fly and Yahoo the swatterNew details have surfaced of Microsoft’s most recent dealings with Yahoo and another offer from Microsoft that was again swatted down by Yahoo. BoomTown’s Kara Swisher talks of Microsoft’s most recent bid that was designed to stifle the Google and Yahoo partnership before it was signed; a very tempting bid at that.

Swisher also points out a very insightful article by Harry Blodget on “Why Yahoo Passed on Microsoft’s New Search Deal (New Details!)“. Blodget sums up the reasons for Yahoo’s choice well in this latest bid:

“Yahoo decided that the strategic drawbacks of the Microsoft deal outweighed the potentially huge financial and operational benefits… and told Microsoft to take a hike.” Read more…

Today I happened across an interesting speech on YouTube from the always engaging CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. The speech was made on June 9th, 2008 at the exclusive Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and it is available below for those who wish to watch it. If you don’t have the time I compiled a rough list of statistics, thoughts and quotes from Mr. Schmidt that I related below. Incidentally, the introduction by the venerable Vernon Jordan is lengthy but well worth the time; after looking up Mr. Jordan online I am definitely going to read his memoirs – a fascinating man.

Read more…

Over the course of a day we tend to run into situations where some basic and occasionally not so basic tips and tricks need to be applied to a website. Here are three that come to mind at the moment and might just help you improve your web marketing results. Read more…

The Washington Post posted an interview with the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer today that touched on topics such as Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo and the future of advertising. What I enjoyed most was the segment on the Future of Advertising where Ballmer, in his animated way, discussed Microsoft’s plans for the future and their continuing contest with Google.

A screenshot to Monty Python's SPAM skit available on YouTube“Spam Spam Spam Sausage and Spam!” The words from the hilarious Monty Python sketch play unbounded in my mind every time I hear the word “Spam”.

Unfortunately these days the inedible version of Spam is far from funny as it clogs our Internet and wastes our valuable time filtering through garbage email. Some of these emails just happen to be scam Spam about a “Yahoo Lottery” that claims the recipient has won the Yahoo Lottery and these emails go on to request everything from social security numbers to credit card information in order to claim said prize. Well in case you didn’t know there is no such thing as a Yahoo Lottery and Yahoo has had quite enough of hearing about it. Today Yahoo pronounced on the Yahoo Anecdotal blog that the company has decided to go after these spammers without mercy. Read more…

Google celebrates many holidays with pizazz by presenting a themed logo. On Memorial Day Google has not opted to provide a themed logo as long as I can remember, yet as Search Engine Journal depicted today many of the other search engines do a decent job of theming their logos.

So what is it with Google? Obviously no one in their right mind would have any problem with honoring active members, veterans and resting military personnel.

Last night I uploaded a new article to Search Engine Guide on 4Q which is an excellent free survey tool you can easily add to your website in order to improve the website and your marketing intelligence.

The scivy on 4Q can be found in my exclusive Search Engine Guide article: Free Survey Tool Fuels Marketing Insight.