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According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Yahoo has edged out Google by 1% for customer satisfaction this year: Yahoo 79%, Google 78%.

The rating system the ACSI uses is complex and listed here and their source for data is noted here. Essentially their scoring focuses on: customer expectations, perceived quality, perceived value, customer complaints and customer loyalty. Read more…

Many of you may have never heard of Baidu and that is expected since over 95% of its users are from China. I knew a little about the company but frankly since I could not read Chinese there was little for me to glean from their interface at www.baidu.com. Today, however, I came across an excellent video created by WallStrip that provides insight on this monster company. What I found most interesting was how a different culture can drastically effect the interface and options present on a search engine:

Today the official Ask.com Blog announced details of its local-focused mobile services called Ask Mobile GPS. When I read the offering provided by this 1st generation of local (GPS-driven) mobile service currently only available on specific Sprint phones, I was blown away. The Ask blog posting explains these details more thoroughly but here is a point-by-point rundown of the new offering:

  • Share My Location: opt to let specific friends know where you are at any given moment… creepy but cool. If a friend wants to meet with you their Sprint phone will provide step by step directions to get to your location.
  • Directions: navigate to any available location using audible driving (or walking) directions provided in real-time by the GPS enabled phone.
  • CitySearch: search for specific stores or facilities in your current area. The CitySearch will provide recommendations within a predescribed distance of your location.
  • EVites: receive and send invites to friends for parties or simply a coffee meeting. You can create, view, cancel or accept EVites easily from your phone. In each case the EVites can provide directions to the event location.
  • Favorite Places: save shortcuts to your favorite locations for easy access to directions wherever you are.

Being the first to launch this powerful mobile service Ask.com has really put itself ahead of the pack. “At the end of the day, everyone needs to go mobile. But being early in the game can help lock people in for the long term,” Ask’s CEO, Jim Lanzone aptly stated in an interview with Reuters.

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth SEO Services
Celebrating 10 Years of SEO Excellence

I took a look at some of the Digg.com user responses to the ZD Net Alexa vs. Statsaholic lawsuit article and here is a taste of their passionate replies.

From user: Yorn
“When you’re done reading that, please click the following link and uninstall Alexa toolbar:
http://www.alexa.com/site/help/?index=37

I’m not going to reinstall it till they drop the lawsuit *AND* issue a formal apology. We provide them their data, without us they wouldn’t have a business, and yet they turn around and sue one of us.”

From user: Disneynut
“I’ve already cancelled my Amazon Prime membership and am ready to cancel my affiliate membership with Amazon if they don’t drop this crazy lawsuit. How can they have a workshop with independent developers while at the same time sue this guy for taking advantage of publicly accessible data… data that Amazon wants people to use to help me Amazon better.”

From user: thekohser
“The fact that Amazon would sue over being jealous that an outside developer found a better way to render their publicly-released data, means that I won’t be buying anything on Amazon for the rest of this year. I’ll reconsider in 2008.”

There are some heated discussions on the Digg posting which I recommend anyone read who has interest in all sides of this case. The other side makes some good points too but I personally think they are missing the boat; working with Alexaholic instead of suing them would have made far more sense from a fallout and financial standpoint:

From user: IanRReardon
“This guy is taking Alexa graphics and data and calling it his own. He is doing it outside the API and violating Alexa’s trademark. Did you see his graphic before he changed his name. It was the Alexa logo with “aholic” at the end. Thats like me starting Google2, using googles exact logo and putting a multi colored 2 at the end.

I use to work at a search engine company and I know it cost Alexa MILLIONS to harvest and display that traffic data. This guy is just leaching onto it. Its totally not right. Even though he might have better features and option, it doesn’t give him the right to capitalize off of Alexa’s 10+ years of harvesting web data.

The API is a gift from Alexa. Alexa is saying, hey developers we’re going to give you access to all this data, we just want you to use it this way. What the hell is wrong with that? Google makes you use its API to run programmatic queries. No one yells at google, its the same .”

Today I came across a beta viewing of ASK’s future layout and platform. I didn’t look at it hard so I can’t say anything all that super intelligent at the moment but my first impression was so-so (i.e. nothing that blew me away): www.askx.com.

Jim Lanzone - ASK.com CEOAsk.com’s CEO, Jim Lanzone responded to my recent article “Yahoo Reinvents An Old Wheel: Paid Inclusion Gets a Facelift” reconfirming his belief that paid inclusion is hypocritical. The following is Jim Lanzone’s comment to me which was confirmed authentic by Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land:

Hi Ross. Just came across this today on Bloglines.

Three years later, I’m still against paid inclusion, because I still think it is hypocritical to charge for something we need to do anyway to be the best search service we can be. I also think it’s a dis-service to our users to blur the line that much between paid content and editorial content. Read more…

“If at first you do not succeed, try and buy your market share.” Okay, admittedly this is a bad example of the mantra I am trying to get across but it does fairly represent the enticements a couple of search engines are using to attract users; Blingo and AGLOCO. Read more…

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Thursday, January 4th, 2007

StepForth’s Predictions for 2007

Another New Years has come and gone and over the past few weeks search industry professionals have been releasing their search market predictions for 2007. I have steered clear of reading them because it is time for me to write down StepForth’s predictions and the last thing I want to worry about is duplication. Without further adieu, here are the predictions my staff and I put together for 2007. Read more…

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Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Ask Goes Local

On Monday Ask launched a local search service that strongly competes with other existing services offered by the big 3.

AskCity allows users to search for businesses, events, movies, and maps with directions. This service has integrated a number of those owned by parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp including CitySearch, ReserveAmerica, ServiceMagic, Ticketmaster and TicketWeb. Ask has also incorporated services from IAC partners.

Many of the new services from AskCity are also similiar to those offered by Google, MSN and Yahoo; however, the big three have to sign partnerships with other companies in order to provide these services.

In the big scheme of things local search is still in its infant stages, but as the internet continues to grow and evolve the world of local search will continue to grow as more and more people allow the internet into their lives.

To commemorate National Tree Week, which has been celebrated since 1974 and lasts from November 22nd to December 3rd, Litegreen.com will plant a tree for every new registration on their website. After that week they will plant a tree for every 50 british pounds spent on their website.

Litegreen.com is a search engine that provides content from vetted environmentally and human rights-conscious businesses. Here is their official description: Read more…

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