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 newssift logoA new search engine, Newssift beta was recently launched by the Financial Times Group in an attempt to attract business users to search. It allows users to build incredibly specific queries to help return very specific and relevant results. Newssift also tend to focus on business oriented sources, including magazines, blogs, newspapers and other credible sources to help maintain higher quality results.

The site will be supported financially by the sale of ad space down the right hand side of the search results. Currently these ads are not contextually driven based on a user’s search, but plans for the change are in the works for a future release. Read more…

24/7 Wall Street wrote a fascinating article today describing how Microsoft could quite easily buy its way on to far more computer screens for much less than buying Yahoo; there are powerful search engines that represent many of the Chinese, Russian and Czech viewers. It is a great short read and the economics appear to make sense. Read the article here.

Rambler Media, a Russian company, has recently sold their contextual ad service, “Begun” to Google for $140 million according to Reuters and announced in a Google Press Release Friday. As part of the deal, Rambler also agreed to use Google results and advertising on its Russian based site, www.rambler.ru. Ramblers search results will be enhanced by Google with Google Ads being displayed along side.

“Google is very committed to giving Russian users, advertisers and partners the best possible service and experience,” said Mohammad Gawdat, Managing Director Emerging Markets, Google. “This agreement will result in better search results and more relevant advertising for our Russian users and publishers.”

Currently Rambler Media owns 50.1% of Begun and will be buying the remaining 49.9% from Bannatyne Limited before selling the entire firm to Google.

According to a press release issued Tuesday morning, metasearch has signed a deal to extend its multi-year agreement with Yahoo, allowing them to continue displaying Yahoo text based advertising (Yahoo Search Marketing) and their organic web search results.

“Yahoo!’s unique partnership with InfoSpace provides an important opportunity for us to help connect advertisers with online audiences that use metasearch for their searching needs,” said Dean Stackel, Senior Vice President Business Development for Corporate Partnerships. “This partnership is a key component of our broader strategy to enable advertisers to efficiently reach highly targeted – and therefore highly valuable – categories of Internet users.”

Infospace includes a number of branded sites including Dogpile, WebCrawler, and WebFetch. The exact terms of the agreement were not noted in the press release.

Back in August I wrote an article called “Is Wikipedia Corrupt?” which looked at the concerns caused by controversial editing in the popular Wikipedia online encyclopedia. In the closing section of that article I stressed that Google needed to move away from highlighting Wikipedia in favor of increasing the diversity of its encyclopedic references. In that regard I would like to introduce a great introduction to Citizendium written by Russ McGinn, a Citizendium Editor and former participant at Wikipedia. Read more…

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Friday, November 9th, 2007

AOL Acquires Quigo

According to Business Week, AOL has acquired pay per click search engine Quigo for a reported $300 million. The acquisition includes the AdSonar and Feedpoint platforms.

Quigo has been serving up ads for a number of Time.com properties, and with the success they have been having, saw the potential and went forward with the purchase.

The deal which is expected to close later this year, will allow for expansion of their contextual advertising on AOL as well as their partner sites. For the time being, Google will continue to provide AdWords ads alongside AOL search results.

The Chinese communist flagAccording to TechCrunch today it appears that China is hijacking traffic that is meant to go to Yahoo and Google and transfering it to Baidu.com; China’s banner search engine rife with legally (in China) ripped music and thick with communist party censorship.

Out of interest I tried surfing China’s network using a Chinese-based proxy. I tested the network and definitely found many websites that were “unavailable” but Google, Yahoo and MSN were not being redirected on my tests… I guess the Chinese filters are playing favourites intermittently.

Harvard posted an interesting study on Internet censorship in China they conducted in 2002 called an “Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in China“. I find this topic fascinating and disturbing so it stole a little more time out of my day than I had expected. In the report they listed a sampling of sites banned in China along with the regularity in which they were blocked during their study. The list shows 126 websites including:

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Dogpile Outranks Google

J.D. Power and Associated rated Dogpile with the highest rank in customer satisfaction among search engines for the second year in a row.

Based on 1,000 points, Dogpile earned a score of 818 this year, up 14 points from 2006. Google fell in second at 794, with Ask filling in the top 3 at 784 points.

Dogpile users report that they are particularly satisfied with the limits placed upon paid advertising within search results.

This study is in its fourth year and looks at overall consumer behavior, experience and satisfaction within a number of search functions.

While Dogpile has a long way to go in the major search engine race, it is nice to see an underdog (no pun intended) holding its own against the major search engines.

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Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Google Losing Ground in China

In most places Google dominates search over rivals Yahoo and MSN, however, in China it’s a different story.

Google has been investing heavily in search for China, however, despite this; Baidu.com is up 7.6% this year reaching a 69.5% market share in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Google’s share fell 1.1% down to a still respectable 23 percent.

Yahoo China also saw a sharp decline with its share cut by more than half, down by 2.9% to 2.3% market share.

John Battelle’s blog brought to my attention a startup called Cuill (pronounced “cool”) that was created by some wealthy ex-Googlers that specialized in search technologies. Apparently the startup, and this is rumour, has already been approached by Google with a very appetizing offer.

As John Battelle said, the search engine must have some very attractive concepts for Google to jump in with an offer so soon. At this time the engine is not available for use, however, it is already gaining the attention of some prominent marketing professionals.

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
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