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June 30th 2008 was a day that Flash developers had been waiting for a long time; Google and Adobe had finally announced that Flash .swf files could be crawled by Google! In fact, the extensive news release from the Adobe Developer Center also stated that Yahoo would be incorporating similar technology in short order. When I read this news and the consequential articles from the web marketing community it became very clear that this update was a great step but far from the fix that some Flash developers are likely to pitch to their clients. As a result, I wanted to add my voice to the buzz on this topic and share with you my thoughts on how to optimize a site using Flash while considering the current updates. Read more…

I just finished writing a post for Search Engine Guide on Yahoo’s latest idea that I think is positively brilliant. Here is the lead in if you would like to go there and read it in its entirety:

“At Yahoo Anecdotal today Yahoo announced they had recently opened the Yahoo Accessibility Lab; a place where only Yahoo employees (for now) can experience the world of the Internet as a disabled web surfer would. Read on for a peak at accessibility guidelines and more on what Yahoo had to say about this important issue.”

Continue reading Yahoo Champions Internet Accessibility for the Disabled at Search Engine Guide

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.

Yahoo has their second quarter shareholder conference call Tuesday evening and the numbers are in.

For Q2 of 2008 Yahoo’s Revenues were $1.79 Billion, representing a 6% increase over 2007 Q2 Results. Their cost of revenues were also up substantially resulting in a gross profit up by only $18 million compared to 2007. Granted that a profit of more than a Billion dollars is nothing to sneeze at, but $18 million in growth is really peanuts in this multi-billion dollar industry.

For a full rundown of all the figures or to listen to the conference call, visit Yahoo Investor Relations.

comScore released the latest figures for search engine rankings and their respective market share Friday, and Google has actually seen a drop! For all you Yahoo and Microsoft fans out there, don’t get too excited, it’s quite small to say the least.

For June 2008 Google has shown a 61.5% hold on market share, down 0.3% from May of 2008. Yahoo also showed a 0.3% change, only in the positive direction moving from 20.6% up to 20.9%. Microsoft had the biggest leap of a whopping 0.7% up from 8.5% to 9.2%.

When comparing numbers from June 2007 with June 2008, Google has seen a sizable gain stealing users from MSN and Yahoo. In the past 12 months Google has seen an increase of 6.6% with Yahoo and Microsoft both losing, 2.9%, and 3.1% respectively.

Last year, Microsoft adCenter introduced changes to their Ad ranking system for advertising in the US. This represented a shift towards a more Quality Based Ranking system, along the lines of what Google AdWords and Yahoo’s Panama already have in place.

It appears that this change is now expanding into more widespread coverage. On the adCenter blog on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the introduction of this system to the Canadian and UK markets.

While it may seem Microsoft is only playing “catch up” with this initiative, they have been busy making other improvements to their system as well.

Though still low on the totem pole for market share, Microsoft is forging ahead with a level of energy that would seem alien over in the Yahoo trenches. With projects such as the Excel addon, Desktop Editor and Analytics, Microsoft may give Google some real competition in the not too distant future.

A scan of the Yahoo blog yields a host of “how to” and “tips and tricks” posts, but nothing particularly significant in the way of badly needed innovation.

In fact the last significant improvement Yahoo has implemented was the change to minimum bids. While that has been handy for getting alerts when minimum bids are about to become too low, it’s not been the sort of improvement that painfully awkward interface really needs.

There is speculation that Microsoft is overtaking Yahoo’s position for paid traffic as well.

While I don’t know if this is indicative of anything, I have noticed a recent decrease in the number of impressions in our own Yahoo accounts. Unfortunately, the bid prices have not decreased as yet.

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…

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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…

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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.

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