I hope all of you experienced an excellent weekend full of family, and friends, swirled in the aroma of oven-baked turkey! I had a wonderful holiday weekend with my fiancee, my family, and hers; I ate and drank far too much and I am certain I set my workout routine a few paces back :-)

In any case, I just wanted to wish you all a great short week full of profit and fun. Now it is time for me to get back to work and get our blog caught up with the times – among many other things.

All the best.

Online calendars have been available for many years now but the calendar-sharing feature that Google has included in Google Calendar has opened the door to a great a form of social marketing that is bound to make waves and possibly increase your bottom line.

What is Google Calendar?

If you are not a GMail user or even a fan of Google you may not know what I am talking about so here is some background. GMail is Google’s free web-based email program, which has many features that has helped it create a significant user base. After the emergence of Google Mail (GMail), Google launched a number of additional free applications for Gmail users, which culminated in a combined solution called Google Apps . One of these applications is Google Calendar, which is the subject of this article. Read more…

Google has another, somewhat secretive search engine called SearchMash.com. Kudos to Nathan Weinberg for releasing this valuable piece of information! Search Mash appears to be a testbed of sorts for AJAX search technology (the same technology that Microsoft’s new Live.com search engine uses). Check out the Search Mash features list and you will see how some of the options seem to steer more toward a higher level of personalized results; a direction Google is forging towards. Read more…

Yahoo! announced today they signed an exclusive deal with HP, the #2 global PC vendor (Gartner statistic), to be the start-up home page for every HP PC sold in Europe and North America. Even better news for Yahoo! is that North American computers will include a co-branded Yahoo! toolbar installed on every machine once the new Internet Explorer 7 is launched by Microsoft.

This news comes after a similar deal was announced between Yahoo! and Acer computers. All-in-all, it appears that Yahoo! has a very clear picture of where it wants to be; in your face as much as possible. Read more…

Today ComScore announced their research findings on the size and growth of local search in the USA.

According to their findings, 63 percent of U.S. Internet users conducted a local search in July. Local searches are considered any form of search for local information such as a local business number, address, or business website. The real kicker, in my opinion, was that Google (30%) and Yahoo! (29%) had nearly the same amount of the local search market.

Here is some more data that you may find interesting:

Share of Local Searches by Site  July 2006  Total U.S. Home, Work and University Locations  Source: comScore qSearch

                                     Total Local Searches  Total Internet Population                 100%  Google Sites                             29.8%  Yahoo! Sites                             29.2%  Microsoft Sites                          12.3%  Time Warner Network                       7.1%  Verizon Communications                    6.6%  YellowPages.com                           3.9%  Ask Network                               2.7%  Local.com                                 1.9%  InfoSpace Network                         1.9%  DexOnline.com                             1.4%  All Other                                 3.2%

I came across this interesting press release announcing the results of a Yahoo!/OMD survey of 4500 online families across 16 countries called: “It’s a Family Affair: the Media Evolution of Global Families in a Digital Age.

If you have the time I recommend reading the entire document but here are some snippets from that I think you will find interesting. Read more…

Welcome the new Microsoft… the media mogul and software giant

Google has proven it works, so guess what? Microsoft is now jumping on board and I expect they will be astounded by their positive reception because this is a great addition of quality advertising territory. Microsoft has launched a powerful advertising solution called Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions that will allow advertisers to get exposure across the following brands:

  • MSN
    Engage up to 380 million users with your advertisement on this popular portal.
  • XBOX
    Advertise directly to the gamers while they surf their XBOX Live sites.
  • Windows Live
    This new brand will gain a significant following over the next few years and as Microsoft puts it this “is a highly desireable audience” packed full of confident online consumers.
  • Microsoft Office Online
    Microsoft is targeting enterprise advertisers for this site that is designed as a technical extension of the popular Office suite of applications.
  • Windows Mobile
    Send text ads or interactive images direct to handhelds through this portal for mobile users.
  • Microsoft TV
    Here is an opportunity for exposure across Microsoft’s new age IPTV system that will provide broadcast-quality video and television to users.

So what does this all mean? Microsoft has finally clued in to the online advertising revolution and opened the doors to becoming much more than a software manufacturer. Now you can advertise across Microsoft’s considerable network in areas that you never could before.

Hmm, I wonder if they will start to buy up newspapers soon? :-)

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Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Some Insight into Google Anaytics

Here is just a quick post recommending that you read the following interview with Brett Crosby at Web Analytics World. Brett is the Senior Manager of Google Analytics and he discusses the current status as well as the future of Google Analytics. Do you want to know more about how to track your statistics? Check out Google’s free Conversion University.

The free tool that it is Google Analytics offers some very tempting functionality for any webmasterand we currently use it as a secondary stats source but I still swear by ClickTracks. ClickTracks may be a paid solution but I find it very flexible and the reports are extremely easy to understand.

Yesterday (the 26 of September), a Mr. David Eun, VP of Content Partnerships posted a blanket notice titled “Our approach to content” describing Google’s respect for copyrights. I recommend reading this posting but if you want the Coles notes… here is a snippet that sums it up well:

“… over the years we’ve come up with three primary principles to ensure that we respect content owners and protect their rights:

  • we respect copyright;
  • we let owners choose whether we index their content in our products;
  • we try to bring benefit back to content owners by partnering with them.”

Mr. Eun does a good job of representing Google in this post. In fact, by highlighting how flexible Google is I think he does a great job of showing how silly this whole whiney copyright issue has become. I mean come on! If you (the copyright owner) wants money from Google, just be honest about it and don’t try to attack them under the guise of copyright infringement. If you don’t want to be listed in Google it is a very simple matter of implementing the proper tags.

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Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Happy Birthday Google!


Well you turned 8 years old today you playful little devil. You have been a temperamental child at times and lord knows you don’t follow orders very well but at least you get straight A’s for knowledge.

Cheers from the Staff at StepForth Search Engine Placement!

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