Today the official Ask.com Blog announced details of its local-focused mobile services called Ask Mobile GPS. When I read the offering provided by this 1st generation of local (GPS-driven) mobile service currently only available on specific Sprint phones, I was blown away. The Ask blog posting explains these details more thoroughly but here is a point-by-point rundown of the new offering:

  • Share My Location: opt to let specific friends know where you are at any given moment… creepy but cool. If a friend wants to meet with you their Sprint phone will provide step by step directions to get to your location.
  • Directions: navigate to any available location using audible driving (or walking) directions provided in real-time by the GPS enabled phone.
  • CitySearch: search for specific stores or facilities in your current area. The CitySearch will provide recommendations within a predescribed distance of your location.
  • EVites: receive and send invites to friends for parties or simply a coffee meeting. You can create, view, cancel or accept EVites easily from your phone. In each case the EVites can provide directions to the event location.
  • Favorite Places: save shortcuts to your favorite locations for easy access to directions wherever you are.

Being the first to launch this powerful mobile service Ask.com has really put itself ahead of the pack. “At the end of the day, everyone needs to go mobile. But being early in the game can help lock people in for the long term,” Ask’s CEO, Jim Lanzone aptly stated in an interview with Reuters.

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth SEO Services
Celebrating 10 Years of SEO Excellence

Many sites are not taking advantage of link popularity they have already earned. How is this possible? When some sites link to yours they do so without using the “www” in the URL. To search engines this can appear to be a link to a separate website since “stepforth.com” versus “www.stepforth.com” is technically a different domain. The search engines are getting a bit smarter about this but there is no point in waiting for them to catch up. This common situation can be remedied quickly and quite simply. Read more…

StepForth’s Blogs 101 is a resource to provide our clients and readers with a clear concept of what a blog is, why a blog might be a positive addition to their website or marketing campaign, and how to implement, optimize and promote a blog. In Part 1 of this series I will discuss the basics of a blog and some of the necessary steps to take before starting one. Read more…

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Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

eBay + StumbleUpon

The social marketing and search engine world is buzzing over the potential acquisition of StumbleUpon by leading auction company eBay. The news of interest from eBay filtered into the news on April 18th with other potential suitors being AOL and Google but yesterday TechCrunch announced the acquisition by eBay is in “advanced talks” for a rumored $75 million.

$75 Million? Wow, it seems social marketing has ignited the passion over at eBay. After all, the first reports were a valuation of $40 – $45 Million back on April 18th. Read more…

The Google Analytics Blog announced today a fresh look and set of tools for Google Analytics; Google’s free web analytics program.

The posting announces the following improvements:

  • Email and export reports: Schedule or send ad-hoc personalized report emails and export reports in PDF format.
  • Custom Dashboard: No more digging through reports. Put all the information you need on a custom dashboard that you can email to others.
  • Trend and Over-time Graph: Compare time periods and select date ranges without losing sight of long term trends.
  • Contextual help tips: Context sensitive Help and Conversion University tips are available from every report. Read more…

Last week I mentioned “Your Guide to the Best Analytics Solution” a highly acclaimed, independent, unbiased study of the top analytic programs released by CMS Watch. Well, in line with this recent release the guru of analytics, Jim Sterne wrote the introduction to a similar “2007 Web Analytics Shoot Out – Interim Report” created and released by Stone Temple Consulting. The report analyzes the following analytics packages: ClickTracks, Google Analytics, IndexTools, Unica Infinium NetInsight, Omniture, WebTrends and WebSideStory HBX Analytics. Read more…

This week the search world has been rampant with news of buyouts and related rumors. Here is a snapshot of the events of interest:

  1. The Dow Jones is up for sale and rumors started by a connected analyst state that Google may be interested. I say “don’t hold your breath.” This is likely a tall tale. Here is another article from Bloomberg: “Dow Jones Holders Say Murdoch Bid May Trigger Auction (Update4)Read more…

Reputable sources say Microsoft has reopened negotiations with Yahoo to purchase the company or work with it in some way. Last year the same talks were going on but Yahoo’s Terry Semel said his “impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance,” Mr Semel said. “The search business has been formed.” The talks ceased and I was not expecting them to restart so soon.

The Wall Street Journal estimates Yahoo’s value at 50 billion… is Microsoft really that eager? Apparently they just might be and it is likely a direct cause of their thwarted attempt to secure DoubleClick before Google did. Tired of being a follower I expect Microsoft will be making some very tempting offers to Semel this time around.

Okay, now it is time for what is likely to get a few people charged up. “YES PLEASE” is my way of saying that I hope the merger goes ahead because it will provide some shake up in the search engines – something I feel is much needed. It also helps that I have very little reason to believe Microsoft will add value to Yahoo which will hopefully will create a void for a newcomer.

What is your thought on this? Would you be all for a merger or against?

This morning Search Engine Land released details of a “robots-nocontent” tag that has just been adopted by Yahoo. The tag will allow site owners to block portions of a page from searches. This means that blocked content will still be indexed by Yahoo!’s search engine spider but it will not be among the searchable content at Yahoo.

What would be the purpose of such a robots-nocontent tag? Perhaps you have a few paragraphs of generic content duplicated across several pages of your website and you are suspicious the dupe content is hampering rankings. In this case you can now block that specific content from searches and test your assumptions. It remains to be seen how well this tag will work but it is always favorable to have more tools in the optimization tool chest.

Implementation
The new tag must be included as a “class” in these exact words “robots-nocontent” and can be included anywhere in the page. If wide areas need to be blocked then simply use DIV tags to encapsulate the content.

Additional notes:

  • At this time it is not known if any other search engines will follow suit.
  • Yahoo has provided official word of this launch on the Yahoo Blog.

In reference to my article “Mobile Search Site Creation and Optimization – Part 1” Vance Hedderal, Director of Public Relations at .mobi explains why he thinks the .mobi extension should be used instead of a mobile subdomain (i.e. yoursite.mobi vs. mobile.yoursite.com) Read more…