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caption on image says - CAUTION Slippery Slope proudly brought to you by FISAIn a move that chills my bones yesterday George Bush attained congressional approval to make “a massive expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” (FISA). This security upgrade provides FISA with “the power to order Google, AT&T and Yahoo to forward to the government all e-mails, phone calls and text messages where one party to the conversation is thought to be overseas.” Source, Wired Blog Network.

So what does this mean to you? Obviously this is being done to catch terrorists and protect the American people… a noble pursuit without a doubt. Unfortunately, it also cuts off 3 vital methods of once private communication that journalists were able to utilize when researching stories using foreign contacts. After all, there is no way a journalist can feel comfortable connecting with a foreign source if they know the source is unprotected by journalistic confidentiality. As a result, a short time after the bill was passed the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of the bill. More information on that is available in the Wired posting that alerted me to this travesty of privacy. Read more…

Users running a PPC Campaign in the Google AdWords platform are given the choice of displaying ads on the Google Search Network and/or on the Content Network. I have never been a big fan of advertising on Content Networks, as I find the automated matching process to be less than ideal. I can generally browse the net and quickly find ads that are irrelevant to the sites they are displayed on. This can give one a healthy dose of skepticism.

While advertising on Content doesn’t generally cost a great deal, we have never seen much in the way of results. By and large we do Search Network only, however recently I have had to re-assess that view. Read more…

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Monday, June 30th, 2008

Google AdWords PPA?

Earlier in the week I was going through a Client’s AdWords account and saw a reference to PPA pricing. This reminded me of Google’s seemingly vanished venture.

Back in March of last year, Google AdWords announced the launch of a US only Beta for a new AdSense Network pricing model Called PPA or Pay Per Action.

Ostensibly, this would allow ads to be displayed on participating AdSense publishers sites, with cost levied only upon completion of the Advertiser specified conversion action. Read more…

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Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Yahoogle?

Recently, Google announced an agreement with rival search engine, Yahoo. In their blog, Google maintains that this agreement does not signify a merger, nor will it harm competition in advertising. However there is general concern over the extent that Yahoo will make use of these ads.

Although there are not a lot of details available as yet, some further information can be found in this blog post. According to this post, this agreement will enable Yahoo to display some Google Ads on their Search and Content Networks. The real question (and concern) is how will Yahoo make use of this.

If they only use Google Ads as filler for less competitive phrases, then likely this would likely have little impact on their own advertising clients. If they go further and start pitting their client’s bids against those of Adwords, costs will soar for advertisers using Panama. Read more…

While cruising Google Reader I noted some great articles and tips that you shouldn’t miss. Have a great read and an excellent weekend!

  • Google LogoGoogle’s Matt Cutts gives tips on what page extensions Google does not index. In summary, don’t expect Google to index .exe extensions or URLs that end with a “.O” such as “www.xyzname.com/web2.0″; although Matt did note that the “.O” extension is being re-evaluated and tested for less troublesome indexing by Google.
  • An intro to Apple's new MobileMe application with an allusion to Dr EvilRobert X. Cringely wrote a great article on a “Microsoft-killer” strategy that he believes Apple is putting into play based on the new MobileMe service coming soon. Here is an excerpt:

    “Microsoft’s success is based on two products and only two products — Windows and Office. Microsoft is obsessed with the idea that Google will undermine one or both of those monopolies through Google Apps. This is all Steve Ballmer thinks about and is what made him so eager to spend $40+ billion for Yahoo. But what if the real threat isn’t Google at all, but Apple?” … Read more…

A picture of a fly swatter crushing a fly with Microsoft the fly and Yahoo the swatterNew details have surfaced of Microsoft’s most recent dealings with Yahoo and another offer from Microsoft that was again swatted down by Yahoo. BoomTown’s Kara Swisher talks of Microsoft’s most recent bid that was designed to stifle the Google and Yahoo partnership before it was signed; a very tempting bid at that.

Swisher also points out a very insightful article by Harry Blodget on “Why Yahoo Passed on Microsoft’s New Search Deal (New Details!)“. Blodget sums up the reasons for Yahoo’s choice well in this latest bid:

“Yahoo decided that the strategic drawbacks of the Microsoft deal outweighed the potentially huge financial and operational benefits… and told Microsoft to take a hike.” Read more…

Today I happened across an interesting speech on YouTube from the always engaging CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. The speech was made on June 9th, 2008 at the exclusive Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and it is available below for those who wish to watch it. If you don’t have the time I compiled a rough list of statistics, thoughts and quotes from Mr. Schmidt that I related below. Incidentally, the introduction by the venerable Vernon Jordan is lengthy but well worth the time; after looking up Mr. Jordan online I am definitely going to read his memoirs – a fascinating man.

Read more…

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Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Google up in US Search Share

The latest numbers are in, and Google continues to dominate search – we already knew that, but by how much?

The latest figures from HitWise released this morning show Google up a little over 3% compared to May of 2007. Google was accountable for approximately 68.29% of searches performed in the US in May of 2008. Yahoo and MSN fell to 19.95% and 5.89% respectively.

Yahoo’s figures for May 2008 are down marginally by about 1% and MSN down nearly 2% compared to the same period a year ago. HitWise figures are based on a sampling of 10 million U.S. Internet Users.

As Google Earth advances, they have offered 3D views of several major cities and attractions world wide, but with the help of Disney providing intricate models, a 3D walk through has been created providing users with incredible detail in their virtual visit.

Information is made available on all of the parks 1500 attractions and contains videos and photos as well as booking details. Restaurant menus are also available for the many dining establishments at the theme park.

While currently the virtual tour only includes the outside of the parks buildings, a future update will allow visitors to see the inside of hotel rooms and enter the various attractions.

If you are interested in taking a break and viewing the 3D tour, ensure you have the latest version of Google earth and the “3D Buildings” layer is enabled, and perform a search for “Disney World”. Clicking on any one of the colored Mickey Mouse logos, will get you started.

A case was brought to French court surrounding the use of certain keywords through the use of Google AdWords.

Google AdWords offers advertisers a keyword tool which will often suggest variations of certain keywords to be added to a given campaign. Fashion retailer, Louis Vuitton is unhappy as AdWords has been noted to suggest terms such as “Louis Vuitton fakes” and “Louis Vuitton replicas”.

Because Google is essentially selling the advertising rights to these trademarks, Louis Vuitton alleges a trademark violation, and took the search giant to court – and won! Naturally Google has appealed and the case will now go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.