Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Google Lively Not Lively For Long

google livelyLast night in a blog post at the Official Google Blog, Google announced that one of its Google Labs projects,, will see its doors closed forever.

After only a few short months, Google has decided to pull the plug on this popular chat platform in order to direct resources to more important areas such as core search, ads, and apps.

While I have never used Lively, it seems to me that if this site is popular, there must be a way to make some money off of it, and I am somewhat surprised to see them choosing to shut it down so quickly. Would it not make sense to try and sell? Surely a company out there could make use of this to earn a living and keep the current user base happy. Maybe they should approach Facebook and turn it into yet another app?

Friday, September 26th, 2008

$28.7 Million to Improve Digg

dig logoFunding to the tune of $28.7 Million, led by Highland Capital Partners, will be used over at Digg to incorporate a number of changes, Jay Adelson announced in the official Digg blog Wednesday.

Changes will include improvements in infrastructure, new feature development, international expansion, and hiring new employees to make the whole thing happen. New features will include personalizing the “Digg Experience” and incorporating a number of user suggestions from over the years.

Adelson notes that nearly half of their 30 million monthly users are from outside of the US, so making adjustments for localized tastes and languages are on the forefront for their growth strategy for 2009.

He also notes that they will be hiring, so if you are a techie in need of a job, you may want to take a look at their jobs page!

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Ad Views: Myspace Surpasses Yahoo

According to Reuters, MySpace saw more advertiser ad views in June than Yahoo! Yahoo may be the second biggest search engine on the planet, but when it comes to advertising it saw 34.7 billion ad views compared to MySpace which saw 51 billion views. (figures are from a press release issued by ComScore last week).

Yahoo does have the power to draw more revenue out of their ads and still leads MySpace in terms of revenue. Typically in the realm of social media, ad impressions do not necessarily equal dollars.

“Social media gets all these ad impressions but not necessarily get the dollars,” said Colin Gillis, analyst at Canaccord Adams. “MySpace’s cost per thousand (CPM) page views are significantly lower than that of Yahoo”.

Back in June MySpace unveiled a redesign of their home page which has opened to doors to larger sponsors such as Wendy’s and Sprint. While it is too soon to say that MySpace has overtaken Yahoo in the ad wars, this definitely shows that at this rate, they aren’t far from it. Look out Yahoo!

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.

Google celebrates many holidays with pizazz by presenting a themed logo. On Memorial Day Google has not opted to provide a themed logo as long as I can remember, yet as Search Engine Journal depicted today many of the other search engines do a decent job of theming their logos.

So what is it with Google? Obviously no one in their right mind would have any problem with honoring active members, veterans and resting military personnel.

The social web is rapidly growing and Google is trying to tap into this massive industry with the launch of Friend Connect. Released in a limited preview, Friend Connect allows web site owners to incorporate a number of gadgets to their site in an effort to improve the overall user experience.

Friend Connect helps webmasters make their websites more appealing, engage users, and help increase the average time on site. Incorporating a number of available social features is made easy, and does not require any programming skills whatsoever.

Webmasters select from a list of Google and Member gadgets, choose their colors and other options, and then simply cut and paste the code directly to their site.

When your site visitors opt in to use Friend Connect within your site, when they enter a review, post photos, or interact with your gadgets, notices are posted within their friends various social media accounts which can attract them to visit your site.

Currently Friend Connect is available only in a preview release, with select sites being accepted. If you are interested in participating, fill out the application form and cross your fingers that Google will accept you.

I am just on the way out the door but I caught this (opens in PDF) excellent news release by Nielsen/NetRatings stating that “one in four members of UK social networks use their phones to network.” Now considering that Europeans tend to be dramatically ahead of North Americans in cellular adoption this statistics release seemed worth of attention.

Here is a chart that really drove home the popularity of social networking via mobiles (click the image for a larger version):

Whats the point? Nothing all that fancy, this is just more great evidence of the power of social marketing; and it seems the more evidence to convince skeptics the better.

In my travels today I came across a few articles I just had to share.

  • How Social Networking Could Kill Web Search as We Know It
    Source: Popular Mechanics. April 16th, 2008.

    Excerpt: Such a prediction probably seems ridiculous when Google has a market capitalization five times that of Ford and General Motors combined. After all, Google has developed a superfast, highly efficient method of making sense of the most overwhelming mass of data mankind has ever created. What’s more…” read on

  • 20 (Rare) Questions for Google Search Guru Udi Manber
    Source Popular Mechanics. April 16th, 2008.This is an excellent interview and it even covers a response (as shown below) from Guru to the concept that social media will kill search.

    Excerpt: (Interviewer)While we’re talking on the subject of personalization, a colleague of mine said that search as you know it is falling to the wayside and changing dramatically as social networking comes into play—trending toward this MySpace-Facebook model where people look to their friends or their community as the take-off point. Do you see that as a bona fide trend? And, if so, does search become less important?(Reponse from Guru)Search has always been about people. It’s not an abstract thing. It’s not a formula. It’s about getting people what they need. The art of ranking is one of taking lots of signals and putting them together. Signals from...” read on

I hope you enjoy those two articles. It seems this week is a Google-fest over here at StepForth, what with our debut of “How to Optimize for Google, Part 1 of 3” just yesterday on our SEO blog and in our weekly web marketing newsletter. Oh well, the fact of the matter is Google is a monster company and the more light we can shed on the monster the less anyone has to fear it. Well, unless you taunt the monster… and I am recommending you don’t.

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.

We are proud to announce that StepForth is once again rated one of the best blogs on the net by the BIGLIST of Search Marketing Blogs. Created and managed by respected web marketer Lee Odden of TopRank the BIGLIST is a comprehensive list of the best marketing blogs online – at least it is now that we are on it 😉

All joking aside the StepForth team is proud to be recognized for their writing efforts in the search marketing space and plan to continue delivering the best work we can – or not at all. And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t stress that the StepForth SEO News Blog is comprised of articles from more than just myself – our team rocks!

Here is the entry as it is shown on the BIGLIST:

StepForth SEO News Blog – (Welcome back!) Since 2003 the StepForth blog has covered a range of search marketing industry news and sets a great standard for SEM blog writing. Kudos to Ross Dunn for a great job.

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