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…

A study of search engines and search engine user habits found that in almost every instance, the results found at each of the five search engines studied were relativity similar to each other. The study was recently conducted by San Mateo market research firm Vividence and consisted of searches conducted by general search users on Google, Yahoo, MSN, Lycos and Ask Jeeves. Asked to find the answers to a series of questions designed to show how each engine performed and which engine produced the greatest user satisfaction, participants found the correct answer on one engine as frequently as they did on the others.

On the performance test, each engine fared equally well. On the user satisfaction test however, Google emerged as the clear winner with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 68% compared to 59 percent for Yahoo, 56 percent for Ask Jeeves, 53 percent for MSN and 48 percent for Lycos. According to the study, Google ranked high in user satisfaction for three main reasons, its strong brand name, the site’s uncluttered appearance, and the fact that paid advertising is clearly marked.

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

StepForth, (working quietly behind the scenes) is proud to be a part of the team that is introducing the world’s first accessible search engine for people with disabilities, YouSearched.Com. The search tool was developed by UK based philanthropist and entrepreneur Khalid Karrar, with technical assistance provided by StepForth CEO, Ross Dunn. Read more…