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In a recent paid advertising deal to supply ads for Viacom giants including MTV.com, VH1.com, comedycentral.com, and 30 other web properties. Google has been left in the cold as Yahoo’s Panama platform was chosen. The deal could also expand in the future to include an additional 140 Viacom websites. Based on February’s figures, that could translate to around 90 million unique monthly visitors.

Back in March a lawsuit was launched against Google property YouTube over copyright infringement of Viacom owned television programs. Undoubtedly the lawsuit against Google was a large contributing factor in choosing Yahoo for the deal. As the next largest player in the game, with Google out, Yahoo is certainly the natural best choice.

The multi-year Search Marketing Deal was official announced Tuesday in a press release posted by Viacom.

Time to give you a little update on Google’s moving and shaking as of late:

  1. Google has acquired Endexon, a European geo-mapping company which will provide Google with an excellent European base of operations for their map products in that marketplace.
  2. Google is now helping users get setup with Google Apps for Your Domain by providing a domain purchase option within the setup area. Here is the press release and a snippet that sums it all up: Read more…

Question: There are a number of wire services (like PRweb) for submitting
press articles to online news feeds. Is it recommended to use a few of them
for article submission or am I running the risk of having my article
submitted to any particular distribution partner more than once. Is there
any advice you can give me regarding which services distribute to which
distribution partners and how to select which ones to use. – Frank O. Read more…

This was Google's holiday logo in 1999
In a bid that is sure to raise the interests of many e-tailers, Google has announced that it will be providing free merchant services for the holiday season. Say what?! Yes, FREE.

For those of you who are not familiar with transacting online suffice it to say that this promotion could save participating e-tailers hundreds if not thousands of dollars this holiday season. Read more…

Yahoo! announced today they signed an exclusive deal with HP, the #2 global PC vendor (Gartner statistic), to be the start-up home page for every HP PC sold in Europe and North America. Even better news for Yahoo! is that North American computers will include a co-branded Yahoo! toolbar installed on every machine once the new Internet Explorer 7 is launched by Microsoft.

This news comes after a similar deal was announced between Yahoo! and Acer computers. All-in-all, it appears that Yahoo! has a very clear picture of where it wants to be; in your face as much as possible. Read more…

I came across this interesting press release announcing the results of a Yahoo!/OMD survey of 4500 online families across 16 countries called: “It’s a Family Affair: the Media Evolution of Global Families in a Digital Age.

If you have the time I recommend reading the entire document but here are some snippets from that I think you will find interesting. Read more…

Want some free coffee courtesy of Yahoo! ? Well I am always looking out for my readers and freebies are a great way to extend the love :-) Read on…

Today Yahoo! released a press release announcing that in addition to launching a massive new media campaign to publish it’s “fun brand” it will be providing free coffee from Dunkin Donuts this Friday, the 22nd.

Just so that I don’t get any details wrong here is the free coffee information direct from the press release:

“As appreciation for the millions of people who start their day with Yahoo!, all users who select Yahoo.com as their start page this Friday, September 22, 2006 will be eligible for a free coffee giveaway from Dunkin’ Donuts. Beginning at midnight ET on Friday morning, visitors to http://www.yahoo.com will be able to access and print a coupon good for one free 16 oz. cup of Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee. The coupon is valid only on September 22, and may be redeemed from 9 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. local time or close of business at any participating Dunkin’ Donuts retail locations in the U.S. while supplies last.”

So often we are giving to the search engines so it is nice to see a little substance coming back. I hope you get to enjoy a free coffee from Yahoo!

Today Yahoo! released an option-packed email program to all Yahoo! Mail users throughout the USA and 18 markets around the world. The press release provides a glimpse into what this new product offers Read more…

Yahoo and eBay have formed a strategic partnership in order to tie up a number of loose ends both firms feared losing to Google. The agreement, announced earlier today, will see the each firm provide functions and services to each other and each other’s users in areas ranging from search results, graphical advertising, online payments, the creation of a co-branded toolbar and an opportunity for both firms to explore “pay-per-call” advertising options. Read more…

Sometimes the most well thought out practical jokes trigger an uneven brand of justice that falls under the laws of unintended consequences. While not formally codified and ill defined, the law of unintended consequences is very real, as a Google-focused prank pulled by 15-year old Tom Vandetta amply illustrates.

Reading through SEO focused blog entries, Vandetta found an article that explained how to fool Google’s news system by writing fake press releases. Sensing an opportunity to experiment and play a joke on his friends, the self-described “Google fanboy” decided to see what would happen if he submitted a fake Google press release claiming the 15-year old New Jersey student was Google’s youngest employee.

The press release was issued through the free service I-Newswire and contained a number of spelling mistakes. Short and to the point, the release, which appeared to have been sent by a Google spokesperson Sonya Johnson (who’s actually existence is unconfirmed and is assumed to be imaginary), read:

“(I-Newswire) – 15 year old student, Tom Vendetta has been hired by search engine giant Google Inc. The student will receive a lowered salary, which will be placed into a bank account for future education, said Google CEO Larry Page. When asked what role Vendetta will play at the Tech Giant’s offices, Page said he wouldnt have a role at the Main Offices. Instead he would work from his home in the New Jersey suburbs. Vendetta will be incharge of working with recent security flaw’s in Google’s beta e-mail service, “Gmail”. Google said they first found out about him when they discovered the student’s blog, at http://tomvendetta.be. The media giant said they looked forward to working with Vendetta’s expertise in JavaScript and AJAX.”

A few hours after posting the fake press release, Vandetta logged into the news search tool Digg after receiving an automated email from MAKEBot (Digg’s Spider), to find his practical joke had become a credible international tech story. Google was even displaying reference to the press release in Google News and at in the news results placed above search results relating to Google employment or hiring. According to his confessional blog posting, “At that moment, I felt my stomach knot up and my heart drop. I knew exactly what happened and knew that I would end up regretting posting that.”

The prank has made Vandetta temporarily famous. His Gmail account received almost 400 emails in the first few hours. Vandetta has since had to open new Gmail and MySpace accounts. His parents are changing their phone number and he is working to re-establish a workable online identity. On the brighter side, he has received a few emails from Google employees assuring him he has not dashed his dreams of one day working for Google, as he thought he might have.

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While the prank was a juvenile as it was creative, Vandetta’s fake press release has exposed a credibility problem for Google and might introduce new costs for search marketing firms that use legitimate press releases as a means of promotion. His experiment exposed the fact the automated system that is Google News does not verify press releases before publishing them as factual news pieces.

Google engineers are almost certainly working overtime to institute stronger spam filters and shore up the credibility of the Google News system, as they have over the years when SEOs have exposed exploitable characteristics of the organic ranking algorithm.

SEOs who use press release submission services should expect to have to submit a lot more identifying information about themselves and their clients. Requiring information such as phone numbers, addresses, contact names and positions that can be verified by electronic spiders are the most likely filtering options being discussed by Google’s tech-team.

Another filter might be the disempowering or “delisting” of free-for-use press release services such as I-Newswire.com. This measure would present a hindrance to smaller companies and SEO firms, most of which use press releases properly. By raising the cost of communication, Google risks pushing many smaller entities away from an important arena. SEOs are rarely happy to present extra costs to their clients, many of which are small businesses using search advertising to even the playing field against much larger competitors.

Whatever the outcome, Google has to move to close gaps in its News aggregation system quickly.