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)
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…
Google announced the development of a desktop based search tool that sounds an awful lot like the plans for Microsoft’s new operating system Longhorn. Due to be released in early-mid 2006, the Longhorn operating system is said to fully integrate search with the O/S, making any file your computer has ever accessed a searchable document. These files would include items from your hard drive, corporate Intranet and the common Internet. The idea behind the move was to a) create a better operating system that allows users to find information from a far greater range of documents, and b) to take large amounts of market share away from other (non-MS) search tools. Google is trying to counter this threat by introducing its own desktop based system that will have similar features to those found in Longhorn. According to today’s technology section of the New York Times which broke this story, the new software is being code named “Puffin”. (subscription to NYTimes required) As Google made this announcement this morning, there has (thus far) been no response from Microsoft.
For some time now Google’s publishing partners and advertisers have been requesting image based advertising through the AdSense and AdWords programs, and Google is listening.
Currently still in Beta, Google has introduced image ads into its AdSense / AdWords program. Read more…
For the past two weeks I have covered the topic of keyword research. If you are a new subscriber or did not get a chance to read the last articles they can be found online. They covered:
In this crucial first step in the optimization there is an additional aspect of choosing your keywords that has yet to be covered and that is how to choose multiple keyword phrases to target in a single promotion. Read more…
In a report to be issued very soon, the Washington DC based think tank, Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, claims that Linus Torvalds is not the original author of the open-source movement’s premier software. According to the president of the Institution, Kenneth Brown, Linux was created on the back of, “…intellectual property often taken or adapted without permission from material owned by other companies and individuals.”
According to the EWeek article from writer Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Torvalds’ response to the allegation is,
“OK, I admit it. I was just a front man for the real fathers of Linux: the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. They (for obvious reasons) couldn’t step forward to admit that they had gotten bitten by the computer bug and had been developing a series of operating systems on their own during the off-season.
“But when they started with Linux (which they originally called Freax, they do feel like outsiders, you know, and that’s a whole sad story in itself), they felt that they could no longer just let it languish in obscurity.
“They started to look for a front man, and since Santa Claus is from Finland, and thus has connections to Helsinki University, and the Easter Bunny claimed, ‘He’s got good ears, if a bit small,’ I got selected.
“Since then, I’ve lived a life of subterfuge, always afraid that somebody would find out the truth. I’m actually relieved that it’s over, and that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution has finally uncovered the lie. I can now go back to my chosen profession, the exploration of the fascinating mating dance of the aquatic African frog.”