Friday, September 5th, 2008

Microsoft Acquires Ciao

The Ciao shopping and price comparison sites, operating in seven European countries and languages, will now be the property of Microsoft. This follows the deal reached between the software giant and Greenfield Online, operator of Ciao, for $486 Million.

Ciao allows users to create lists of their favorite items, rate products, and provide feedback. Microsoft plans to incorporate Ciao into its Live Search portal in Europe. Read more…

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Microsoft & Jerry Seinfeld Team Up

Apple has seen great success with its popular “Hi I’m a Mac” ad campaign, and now Microsoft has enlisted the help of Jerry Seinfeld for a series of TV ads.Seinfeld will earn a reported $10 million as part of the $300 million advertising campaign being launched by Microsoft.

The ads debuted on Sept 4 – I just by fluke happened to see the first ad when watching Kitchen Nightmares last night. I found the first ad to be funny, but personally think Microsoft has a little ways to go to catch up the Mac ads which in many cases are down right hilarious. You be the judge – take a look at the embedded video below and leave a comment with your opinion! Read more…

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

So Long Yahoo Mash

Including features that are commonly found on other networks like Facebook and MySpace, Yahoo Mash was Yahoo’s beta attempt at the Social Networking scene.

I have to ask the question “where have I been?” It was not long ago that I reported on the demise of Windows Live Expo, a classified ad platform that I had never heard of until its doors were closed. Now, I hear of the loss of Yahoo Mash, another entity that, well, I didn’t know existed until I read a twitter post from Lee Odden noting that its shutting down. Read more…

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Google Cows Point North

cow compass

The Los Angeles Times reports German researchers, through the help of Google Earth, have discovered that 2 out of 3 cows point North.

Using Google Earth, the researchers studied more than 300 herds of cattle from around the world. Of the 8510 cows they observed, two thirds of them had aligned themselves to face magnetic north while grazing or resting.

This is the first discovery of large land mammals to have this built-in compass. Other animals such as birds and most bees have a similar trait to aid with migration.

So, if you ever find your self lost out at the farm, take a look at the near by cows to help guide you safely home.

Is there no end to lawsuits against Google? On Tuesday Judah Klausner, an inventor from San Francisco, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google, Verizon, LG, Citrix Systems, Comverse Technology, and Embarq.

Klausner’s company, Klausner Technologies, filed a patent back in 1992 for “visual voicemail”, a way to apply a graphical means of interacting with voicemail messages, similar to the use of e-mail.

Back in June, Klausner had a similar lawsuit settled against Apple, AT&T, and eBay (Skype) over its “visual voicemail” features on iPhone devices.

Verizon apparently had anticipated the lawsuit from Klausner and two weeks ago filed their own lawsuit in US District Court, to have the inventor’s patent declared invalid.

In an article published on Reuters Tuesday Jim Smith, a Verizon spokesman stated: “We anticipated Klausner’s action. We are seeking a declaration that Klausner’s visual voicemail patent is invalid and that Verizon’s system does not infringe the patent in any event.”

The latest lawsuit is just a series of suits filed by Klausner dating back to the first in 2005 against AOL.

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Yahoo to setup shop in Nebraska?

According to ABC 9 Eyewitness News, Yahoo has applied for a huge state tax break to help them setup shop in La Vista NE.

In order to qualify for the tax breaks Yahoo would have to create at least 50 jobs with an average salary of at least $68,700, and invest $100 million over a four year period.

The Application for these tax breaks is no guarantee of Yahoo’s plans to build in Nebraska. Its interesting that with all the financial trouble Yahoo seems to be having, that they may be willing to move forward with such a huge development.

A few months ago I wrote an article about 13 ways a webmaster can go about building links to their site. One of these ways was through the use of directory submissions.

There are many reasons why you may consider a directory submission. You could be trying to build your brand, focused on links for organic rankings, or simply want to drive traffic to your site. Below we will focus on the link building and organic ranking aspect of directory submissions.

There are countless directories out there these days, some are free, some are paid, and many are garbage. If you decide to build links to your site using online directories, there are some things you will want to consider before spending your hard earned money. Read more…

Possibly the most exciting post for me was from Oliver Marks at ZDNet . Here is a company that is thinking outside the box and developing an alternate interface for search on the internet; it involves returning results based on aggregate sets of information. Freebase Parallax is a fascinating peak into the future and it utilizes the strongest attributes to browse and explore data, a sort of marriage between Google and Wikipedia. This article has been placed under the Google section because I predict they will quickly snatch up this company and its revolutionary approach.

“Still technically in alpha, Freebase will be the underpinnings of many future companies – some would say this approach is the future of the entire Internet. Read more…

Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new plug-in for Outlook 2007. Information Week reports on this collaborative effort between Microsoft Research and Office Labs. The plug-in targets email overload and “uses various algorithms to automatically identify the importance or urgency of e-mail messages delivered into an Outlook 2007 in-box.”

It will allow automatic prioritizing of emails, and allow user to pause email delivery.

Email Prioritizer affixes e-mail with between zero and three stars to represent the urgency or importance of a given message. The program uses a number of algorithms that take into consideration things like the name of the sender and whether the receiver is on the “To” line or the “Bcc” line of an e-mail to determine priority, though at this point Microsoft isn’t forthcoming with a full list of exactly what Email Prioritizer takes into consideration.

“Users can also set e-mail priorities manually by changing or assigning a star ranking themselves. These user settings can inform automatic prioritization: for example, if someone always sets e-mails from his manager to three stars, those e-mails will eventually begin to arrive already bearing the three stars.

Email Prioritizer also comes with a “do not disturb” feature that allows users to tweak Outlook’s settings so that no new e-mails arrive until set periods of time between 10 minutes and four hours have passed.

Office Labs is one of a number of public-facing Microsoft “labs” attached to product groups that Microsoft has created in the past few years, including Live Labs and AdLabs.”

by Bill Stroll, Sales Manager, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Celebrating over 10 years of web marketing excellence.

Barry Schwartz reports on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index in Search Engine Land that Google extends its lead in search satisfaction.

Below is the ACSI table showing current scores (August 20th) and percent change from the previous year.

by Bill Stroll, Sales Manager, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Celebrating over 10 years of web marketing excellence.