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Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

MSN Search is ALMOST in the House

Bill Gates has announced that MSN is about to revamp its search feature and introduce a new, proprietary back-end database to run it. Speaking in Sydney Australia, Gates informed journalists, “The format of the site will change and so will the quality of what you get.” We expect the look of the site to change before the technology does but when the back-end is introduced, it may act like no other search tool currently does. Having conducted linguistics and taxonomy research for the better part of a decade, the Microsoft team expects to be able to not only find documents based on specific keywords and phrases, but to also find documents based on the context of the keyword phrase or full sentences entered into their new search tool. While Gates did not set a firm date, the new tool is expected to be released before the end of 2004.

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

Yahoo Challenges Google

Yahoo’s Overture has picked up the Local Search gauntlet dropped by Google’s Adwords program in April. As Scott Van Achte writes this week, “Overture’s Local Match allows advertisers to promote their business regardless of weather or not they even have a website.” In this move, Yahoo is not only targeting Google’s Adwords program, they are also taking on the Yellow Pages. “It’s an important part of the search business,” said Overture spokesperson Gaude Paez. “Our own research, as well as the research of others, shows that many people who search for products buy them offline.” (quote from Jason Lopez NewsFactor Network article)

Localized search is one of the key features the major search engines are trying to perfect in order to present stronger competition to each other and other traditional listings services such as the aforementioned Yellow Pages.

In the organic listings, Yahoo is basing its localized results on the street address mentioned on a website while Google bases its localized results on the IP number of the computer conducting the search.

Google ADWORDS

In a recent Google mail out sent to AdWords advertisers, Google announced that over the next few days they will be introducing changes to their AdWords program in an attempt to increase the relevance of targeted ads and increase conversions.

Google’s improvements will give them the ability to more precisely identify the most relevant ads for a particular query, which in turn may result in more qualified traffic for some advertisers and less un-qualified for others. Read more…

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Monday, June 28th, 2004

SEO-Spam Class Action

The folks at Traffic-Power find themselves in a pickle this week. Due to the use of unapproved SEO techniques such as 1×1 pixel gif links, doorway pages and cloaking, many of the clients have found themselves banned by Google.

A class action lawsuit has formed lead by the San Francisco firm, Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo, LLP.

Also, We received a notice by Email which read: Read more…

Over the past seven years, it is fairly safe to say that the use of search engines has revolutionized our methods of finding and valuing information. Almost any activity involving research from personal travel planning to corporate business planning has been made far easier through the use of search engines. When one search tool or firm dominates as Google has for the past three years, it will get a lot more attention from the public and the media. Case in point, Google. Synonymous with search, Google has changed the world. For the most part, Google has made it a better place to live. That in itself justifies the intense scrutiny constantly focused at virtually every move made in the Googleplex. The fact they are changing rapidly further justifies the public and media interest and the hoopla. Read more…

A new search engine focusing on business and industry was released earlier this week. Find.Com is a very interesting tool that seems to combine the “clustering” format of Vivisimo with the variety of a meta-crawler search tool. Owned by Empire Media of New York NY, Find.Com works with search-technology developer TripleHop Technology’s enterprise search software, MatchPoint. Here is the explanation of the software and how the search tool works, copied directly from their About page: Read more…

The following article is sourced from Canada’s most prominent newspaper The Globe & Mail. This article can be found in its original format in the Technology section here. Read more…

Ask Jeeves is in a class all to themselves, literally. As the only truly independent algorithmic search engine driving more than 5% of search traffic, Ask Jeeves is in a unique position. While they are not playing in the same league as the Big-Three (Google, Yahoo and MSN), they are competing on the same field. In order to compete with the Big-Three, Ask.Com has made several intelligent moves, the most recent being their entrance into the world of Desktop search and a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission that will allow them to raise about $400-Million through a special “shelf” stock issuance. Read more…

Google has two major legal problems plaguing them this month. If I was Google’s lead lawyer, I would approach the administration with a simple question… Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is that their first problem is not nearly as damaging as their second problem. That’s about where the good news stops.

Google, which has been in a SEC mandated “quite period” ahead of its pending IPO is being sued by a few large corporations for trademark infringement over its policy of allowing AdWords advertisers to bid on keywords containing the name of a competing company. For example, if Royal Tissue wanted to advertise their facial tissues, they could bid on the keyword “Kleenex”, which is a registered trademark of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. The same can be said for Geico, the auto insurance company owned by Warren Buffet’s holding firm, Birkshire Hathaway. The major difference is that while the word “Kleenex” is almost synonymous with facial tissues, the word “Geico” is not necessarily synonymous with auto insurance. Nevertheless, both Google and Overture sold use of the word as a keyword to rival insurance companies. Now Geico is suing both search tools. Both Google and Overture (a division of Yahoo) make the vast majority of their revenues on the sale of paid-placement advertising. If Geico is successful in their suit, both Google and Overture will be forced to limit the scope of keywords websites can be advertised under.

The second suit on Google’s horizon is much more threatening and may make their IPO even riskier than it already appears to be. Overture is suing Google for infringing on their patented method of selling advertising based on bidding on keyword phrases. This practice is the basis of how Google’s main revenue generator, AdWords works. The suit, which was filed in April 2002 revolves around a patent filed in the spring of 1999 by GoTo.Com (Overture’s original name) for a, “system and method for influencing a position on a search result list.” The patent application details both the auction-bid system for determining placements, and the ability of advertisers to alter their bids and ads via a web-browser. The full patent was awarded by the US Patent office on July 31, 2001. About seven months later, in February of 2002, Google unveils AdWords. Flash ahead to today and we see that AdWords provides the major revenue source for Google, accounting for over 80% of income last year. Trouble…

…That’s trouble with a capital T, which rhymes with P and that stands for Patent.

(with apologies to Meredith Willson, author of The Music Man)

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Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Google Losing IT's Cool?

Since November 2003, the good folk at Google have found themselves on a public relations roller coaster. As the biggest and most popular search tool ever, one would think that Google had nothing to prove. Realistically though, the Internet is a participatory medium built on the experiences of live-users as well as a business medium build upon the bottom line. Two important facts about the Internet: Read more…