Thursday, May 29, 2008

Android Demo

This is why I don't have an iPhone (I love my iPod Touch, though) and why I'm not impressed by any of the new phones currently on the market here in the UK

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It's been a good day.

First I noticed that the Mercurythread blog liked the new bigmouthmedia 'top secret' PDFs. That's important to me because Mercurythread has worked at a competing local search agency.

Sometimes. Not always but sometimes you can get the most insightful comments from people operate in the same space as you. I'm sure Mercurythread has observations on what we're doing wrong too but it's nice to see what we might be doing right.

Next up! Google is in the news again here in the UK because it's won first place in the Great Place to Work Institute. Here's the good news - bigmouthmedia also made the list. What the Institute does is rank the top 10 and then put the next 40 companies in the general 'Top 50 list'. That's where we are - and for the second year in a row.

Guess we have to work out what to do better next year!

It's also graduate night here in Edinburgh. We've an office full of job seekers (people we've invited in after talent scouting at some trade fairs) and we've got loads of hopefuls.

I handed out a questionnaire to the grads and look forward to tallying up the results!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yahoo in Spain

Yahoo in Spain, originally uploaded by Bigmouthmedia.

I thought Yahoo's advertising campaign in Spain had a certain... touch about it. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Matt Cutts to Robert Scoble to Noooo!

I'm a new convert to Friendfeed. Like many of you I rushed to follow Matt Cutts there.

Now look what's happened...

I'm getting stuff from Robert Scoble and from his many friends floating down my friends stream.

Now; I like the sound of Scoble but I don't follow him on Twitter or elsewhere simply because he writes so much.

As he's a friend of Matt he also has these chances to pop onto my Friendsfeed. Hmm. Urm.

Ach well. Maybe he bookmarks less and maybe Friendfeed will filter/share as appropriately as it can!

Update: Someone just IM'd to suggest defriending Matt at Friendfeed. Ha! Like that's an option... don't you know search? :)

SMX Madrid - Target Global

Ah; managed to find a power supply here in the huge Spanish conference centre and get some juice back in my laptop batteries - enough for a spot more live blogging.

Next up is the Target Global session. We've Matias Perel and Rand Fishkin speaking. Rand has sunglasses on his head and a beard - must be Spanish.

Do you know what... Matias looks a lot like Massimo Burgio. I wonder if there's been a last minute speaker change. Yep. No Matias.

Targeting US/English Language Regions

Rand promises less corny American jokes. Awww.

We kick off with Hitwise's market share graph they did for Search Engine Land. The one that shows Google with a huge 67.9% blue pie slice of the US market. Poor old Yahoo and Microsoft with just slivers. If I squint... oh, I think I can see... it's

Now the Hitwise chart for the UK. It's worse here; they have 73% with Google UK and 14% with Yeah. Do the maths.

If you look at Western Europe - it's Google, ebay and Yandex. Hmm. Yandex? I wonder if someone in Moscow is currently sulking that they've just been lumped in with Western Europe.

In Canada Google has a 90% market share. Ouch.

In Oz and New Zealand - 90% Google too. That leaves Yahoo and nineMSN with about 5% each. Rand points out that Yahoo and MSN have their TV partnerships (7 for Yahoo and 9 for MSN).

Israel... go on, guess the number... yeah. It's 90%.

So! Is there anywhere Google doesn't rule?

China - Baidu 55%, Google 21.7% and Yahoo 7.2% Rand notes that when he was in China you could search at Google but get your results back in Baidu. The government was forcing the ISPs to do this... easy to see why Google might struggle.

Russia - Yandex 47.5%, Ramber... rumours that Yandex's share is much higher.

Japan - Yahoo, Google and MSN in that order. Searching is very vertical so lots of traffic goes straight to, for example, shopping pages.

Korea - Naver 72%, Duam 11% and Yahoo with 6%. Rand reckons the future of social search might be echoed here. When you type a query into Naver, before you see the SERPs, you get UGC answers.

Czech - Seznam 62%, Google 24%, Centrum 5%, Atlas 3% and Jyxo 0.5%

Also something about Estonia - but I blinked.

Rand says search engines look at the geographic location of your IP address. They look at the geographic association of your domain extension. He notes that .com, .org, .net have become English language centric.

The registrar information is also used. He says Danny's a hippy. On-page address information is also used.

Language can be used too but can be frustrating. Take Spanish, for example, there are a lot of people in the US and Latin America who write in Spanish and then Google assumes they're targeting Spanish users.

Rand toys with the idea of targeting SEOMoz to just Spanish traffic. :)

Ah... on to the challenge of targeting two or more countries via Google's WMC. It's true that you can't do it on one domain but you can register two folders (or more) and geo-target them.

Why doesn't Google use the Dublin Core meta tags for language/country targeting? Not enough sites use them.

What's important for Google?
- trusted domains
- trusted links; Rand reckons 1 or 2 trusted links can be more useful than 500 other links
- the dreaded sandbox; Rand reckons we'll see more of this in languages Google's not so confident in

What's important for Baidu?
- phone up Baidu and buy the organic traffic
- lots of traffic is multimedia centric

What's important for Yandex?
- similar to Google but less influence on domain trust
- rumours that you can ring up and buy changes...

What's important for Naver
- be social; get the community to write about you

What's important for Yahoo Japan
- it uses Yahoo search technology
- some focus on domain authority
- some focus on keyword use
- slightly easier to game

What's important in local engines (Seznam, etc)
- talk to a locals

Targeting the US
- competition levels very high; with the exception of some UK results
- best spam detection
- best spammers
- lots of link evaluation; lots of links discounted

The US population expects a high level of user experience. You need to do well here in order to get those editorial citation links. This is why blogging is popular.

Rand says he's not a monkey.

Here's a big question; Why am I ranking well in one enigne but not others?
Here are Rand's answers;
- different weighting of links
- different crawling/indexing index - Google is more robust; Yahoo & MSN are more flaky
- different keyword usage limits - easy to go overboard on Google
- different ways to measure 'valuable vs thin content'
- sometimes historical issues with the domain or IP address can cause problems

Getting Local Results from Anywhere in the World
- Rand shares the &GL=<country> trick with the audience
- ie; &GL=US or &GL=DE (for Google)
- for Yahoo; simply go to the country specific domain

And that's a wrap! Now onto the questions.

... oh. Wait. Massimo's talking about SEMPO again.

SMX Madrid - Target Europa

Oohkay; let's see if I need the translation headsets for this one. Next up I believe we are talking about targeting Italy and the Netherlands. Speaking we have Lennert de Rijk (Netherlands) and Massimo Burgio (Italy). The panel is going to try and take questions on the German market too.

The Netherlands

Ah yes; Lennert is speaking in English. Good man. +5 points already. He's Dutch and works in Spain. He's the Managing Director and cofounder of Onetomarket Spain. I wonder how many languages he speaks?

Let's see if his presentation on the Netherlands is as good as Joost's was for SES New York! Ha. :)

The Netherlands are 2nd in the world for broadband penetration. The Dutch spend about 6.4 hours online a week.

He doesn't understand the costing structure of telephone/internet usage in the Spain. The Spannish pay x4 more and have worse quality. He suggests that this is one of the reasons why internet shopping is larger in the Netherlands than in Spain (If you're not European; Spain is a large country and the Netherlands is not).

Ah! A picture of a cow. This is to remind us that agencies should have a global mindset but must act locally. All of the major players in the Netherlands are local - although iProspect just bought one of the market leaders.

Don't use Kelkoo. He says. He recommends using "ormaspdsfsdfsdffdf" or "asmdsfhdsfsdsdf" instead. Okay; I can't quite pronounce or spell the sites he recommends.

Also TradeDoubler, he says, aren't really getting into the Netherlands. Lennert says that TradeDoubler simply doesn't have the knowledge or marketshare to work as an affiliate network in the Netherlands (If you're not European; TradeDoubler is a large pan-Europen affiliate network).

Lennert describes the Dutch market as immature. It's growing quickly and expected to keep on growing.

Here's a fact for you; elderly people use the net more often than young people in the Netherlands. This is due to the demographic situation where there are simply loads of 65+ people and that they have the time and money to spend online.

Last year, on average, Dutch users would spent at least 500 euros online.

This is interesting; the leading vertical of spend in the Netherlands is travel and Lennert's included 'insurance' in that group. There doesn't seem to be a finance vertical of note.

This is a similar picture to the UK. In recent years we've seen the pure plays shops get their act together for online and start to take marketshare back from aggregators and affiliates.

Top sites in the Netherlands;,,,,,, nl.wikipedia and then hyves. Hyves is a popular social network in northern europe/the nordics.

Startpagina et al are the always popular 'starting pages' who simply refuse to go away in the Netherlands. Lennert urges us to be careful with the Startpagina clones as they're nothing more than link farm clones which mess up your link profiles and which have started to suffer drops in Google.

Some Dutch basics;
- use .nl domains
- host locally
- get local links
- be as aggressive as you need to be (Andrew's note; there's a Faith No More song about that)

The Dutch home shopping organisation ( is important. It has 750 members and 100 business partners. It represents 80% of the Dutch home-shopping market. Oh... wait, I think Lennert has a connection to these guys.

Lennert would like us to remember that the Netherlands are neither Belgium or Germany. Yes; the Netherlands and Belgium have a language in common but the culture is very different.

Are there any other search engines after Google? Nah. Not really.

How do you get a Dutch person (or user?) to love you? Be unique, Lennert says. (Slide shows Dutch beauty blowing a kiss (lucky kiss)).

Hyves has 4 million users. 2 million of these people are Dutch. That's 2 billion page views.

NuJij has 1 million users. That's about 4 million page views.

74% of the Dutch are on at least one social network.

Right. That's Lennert finished. Now for Massimo!


Before he starts - I bet Massimo plugs SEMPO Italy.

Win. Massimo's plugging SEMPO Italy.

... still plugging SEMPO.

Right. Now on to Italy.

Italy take 2

Google is big there. They're the market leader with Yahoo and MSN coming second. After that we've got Virgilio (an Italian directory) and Alice.

There are big publisher portals - kataweb group, RCS and RAI.

However, despite these big publishers and alternative portals there is only really AdSense and AdWords.

Panama is slowly gaining a little more traction but have very far to go.

MIVA disappeared from Italy. Facebook offers some PPC alternatives. Massimo doesn't recommend trying Facebook just for PPC campaigns... got to use it for social media strategies instead.

Massimo says that the interactive agencies in Italy have rushed to embrace Web 2.0 stuff but have forgotten their SEO basics on the way. There are some in-house SEO teams in Italy but they have neither the training nor the resources.

The Italian search agencies are working very well. Massimo thinks the agency fee is a problem, though, as the Italian clients don't really want to pay that. He says he adores Google Italy but hates the way they simply act as sales people. There are only six people in Google Italy, they're only sales people and can't solve your problems (reading between the lines; Google Italy are promising to run SEM campaigns for clients directly and Massimo doesn't rate their ability).

Turns out there are Googlers in the room. Massimo changes slide. :) (Actually Massimo ; there's an Italian Googler in the room and within throwing distance - if I shout duck then duck!)

The evolution of search in Italy;
- from SEO all the way through to SMO
- SERP rankings - blogs + social media (says Massimo)
- universal search = social search
- PPC = lead acquisition

Social media is of increasing importance in Italy. We're also seen an increase in Web TV and mobile ready users (thanks to the iPhone once again).


Thomas Bindl can't make it so we're going to adhoc...

Germany's internet market is more advanced than Spain. The Travel and Retail verticals in particular are much larger.

Some popular German social networks
- StayFriends
- SevenLoad
- MyVideo
- Mister Wong
- StudiVZ

Tomy says Mister Wong is good for links as the site doesn't use nofollow. Er... I think they added nofollow some months ago. Tomy did warn the audience that he hadn't been active in Germany for a few months though and so that makes sense.

Alex (surname?) works for a search agency active in both Germany and Spain. He's here to walk us through some search campaign differences.
- Germany is more saturated than Spain; this effects the bid costs
- You can't transplant a campaign from one European country to another; you must localise
- Germany is more sober than Spain. German creatives need to be more technical.
- In Spain, Alex's agency uses 'flashy' landing pages designed to capture the users' attention
- In Germany, Alex's agency uses more conservative landing pages
- When data harvesting; in Spain you can ask for it, get it and know everything about the user - in Germany no one knows their national ID number
- It takes more effort to persuade a German to part with their money
- Spanish customers are easier to keep happy. If you can show a Spanish client you're doing well - then they'll keep the PPC campaign going.

Thanks guys! I'll not live blog any of the questions and answers and keep them exclusive to the conference instead.

SMX Madrid - The Programmble Social Web

Right. I've found some (weak) wi-fi and a set of translation headphones (currently buzzing in my ear) so I'm going to see whether I can do some live blogging from SMX Madrid.

It's 1 o'clock Madrdid time and next up is Eric Tholome from Google. He's the Group Product Manager, Applications there and I think he's going to be talking about open social. The title of the presentation is "The Programmable Social Web". He looks to have at least 7 slides - which is loads for a Googler in a search conference.

Google are also presenting in the other room but I can't get translation for that. Sorry Luisella!

Okay... so far Tomy's speaking in Spanish. No translation!

Oh! Success. The translation software is perfect for Eric... no wait, he's speaking in English! Score. :)

Wow. A patchwork of 10,000 gadgets! These logo swarm slides get bigger for each conference. Who had the time to put this together?

Eric talks about phase 0. Destination websites. Web 1.0.

Then there's phase 1. Users creating their own sites by taking content form one site (RSS) and building their own pages with it. For example; iGoogle.

Phase 2. People start taking applications (rather than just content) from one source and building their own stuff with them. For example, iGoogle evolves from just being RSS modles to showing apps.

Phase 3. Containers - those sites who can host gadgets - start to appear everywhere. For example; combining a real estate gagdet with a map gadget.

Phase 4. The applications evolve into 'creative applications' - really clever and impressive looking ones. For example; IM Google gadgets or Starbuck's interactive map gadget or Honda's sponsorship of Fall Out Boy through the gadget ad. (P.S. Google are keen to push gadget ads)

Eric notes that the web has become an eco system for gadgets.

Under a slide called "Everyone's Writing Code" Eric shows a curve going up that takes data from iGoogle. It shows that they've now got about 20,000+ gadgets and 100,000 sites acting as containers for gadgets. The curve goes up as it plots gadget numbers against time.

Guess what - there's a longtail of gadgets too. Google data; 50% of traffic comes from outside the top 125 gadgets (that's taken from a base of 500 gadgets).

Woot! Google uses a slide that shows a dinosaur, then an asteroid and then a mammal; here comes the evolution of the web speach (I hope he mentions the Flying Spaghetti Monster intelligent design theory too - just to balance things).

Ah... yes; the shift to the browser being the next operating system of choice (I think I can hear someone in Microsoft HQ weeping).

So... roll in OpenSocial. Why is it important? Google says the web is better if the web is social. Eric notes how annoying it was to always have to re-add your friend data whenever you started a new site. He admits that Facebook has been very important. OpenSocial is here to let many social sites have access to not only a gadget eco-system but also to this common set of social data.

Eric stresses that Google doesn't want all the social sites to merge. They want OpenSocial bridge the gap between networks.

OpenSocial allows more applications to be developed. Rather than spend time writing conversion code so aps can run on different sites - the time can be spent writing more aps. It also means that more websites can run more aps. The result? More users will be able to experience the joy of applications.

OpenSocial is not GoogleSocial. It's very much, Eric says, a partner driven project. MySpace and Yahoo, for example, are partners. (Hey; if I was Google I might look into advertising on MySpace and Yahoo... oh... wait. Um.)

PayPal's in OpenSocial. NewsGator. CurrentTV. - Wah. He had a slide of small print that listed lots of OpenSocial partners. I hope I had time to cherry pick three good examples.

There are 5 categories of OpenSocial API
1) People and Friends (access friend info via API)
2) Activities (what friends are doing API)
3) Persistance (Store and share API)
4) Gadgets core (utilities)
5) Gadgets Feature-Specific (interface utlities; flash, for example)

What is Shindig? An apache license container which allows you to serve OpenSocial applications. It takes a little work but not that much. It's open source. Ning is a champion example.

Google are introducing REST APIs for OpenSocial - coming later, working on now - becase not everyone has a JavaScript enviorment.

Eric won't go into more details here but the REST APIs will also allow OpenSocial to go mobile.

So, what about Friend Connect? This helps every site provide some social features with just a snippet of code. In the past you had to use something like Shindig which, of course, meant you had to do some programming. Friend Connect makes its easier to get started with OpenSocial - you just need a few snippets of code from Friend Connect.

Once on Friend Conect you can;
- user registration
- invitations
- members gallery
- message posting
- reviews
- OpenSOcial applications

So, a possible summary here is that Friend Connect is here to help encourage OpenSocial adoption.

What do users get from Friend Connect?
- log in with existing credentials
- see who among their friends are already registered at the site
- invite friends from other social networks

Eric uses the Ingrid Michaelson example. She's a singer and not a coder. Just a few snippets of code from her friends at Friend Connect allows her to enhance her site. We can see that Eric (who uses a Calvin icon!) is logged in to her site and that Ingrid has added the iLike application to her site.

Google are making sure users stay in control of their data. Privacy is important. That's a key point to remember as Friend Connect and OpenSocial lets visitors use one set of data to log into lots of places.

Ah... OpenSocial is not just for friends. There's an Enterprise potential which Google reckons is largely untapped. Business partners can interact. Eric asks us to imagine a sales person on OpenSocial (actually, Eric, I can... not sure I want sales people stalking me on OpenSocial...)

Let's look at some business sites in the OpenSocial partnership; LinkedIn, SalesForce, Viadeo, Xing and Orcale. Not bad, huh?

Eric's wrapping up with some resource URLs. You can find the Google ones easily so here's Shindig;

Thanks Eric!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Running WebPosition Gold? Using RankChecker? Go to jail.

The story of Megan Meier is terrible and tragic. The poor girl killed herself as a result of cyberbulling at MySpace.

Her neighbour, Lori Drew, had created a fake persona at MySpace and used it to torment her.

It took US prosecutors nearly two years to find a law they could bring to bare against Lori Drew. In the end, they prosecuted Drew for hacking/unauthorised access - creating a fake account at MySpace breaks their terms and conditions for access. The Register express concerns that this could make us all criminals.

Google's terms and conditions expressly forbid tools which use automated queries. Google says in its help section that WebPosition Gold shouldn't be used. The same applies to other rank checkers like RankChecker or even PageRank checking scripts. A number of FireFox extensions come to mind as well.

The precedent set by the Lori Drew case means that, in theory, you could be sent to jail for ignoring Google's T&Cs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Google gets funky in Taiwan

Today's logo in Google Taiwan

Update: Ha-ha! Said image is also now pretty much world wide! Thanks timezones.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Icahn, CNet and Yahoo

You'll have read elsewhere that Icahn has popped onto Yahoo's radar. He's put some cards on the table - 3% of Yahoo's shares and a move to put his team onto the board.

Full marks go to Marketing Pilgrim and their lolcat inspired write up - Icahn Haz Yahoo Board!. (Picture Credit to Marketing Pilgrim too) This isn't a news blog so I'm not going to mull too much into the details except to say that the term corporate raider was pretty much invested for Icahn. Er, I mean, Mr Icahn.

In other news CBS bought CNET. Wow. Old schools swoops in and buys new school. Once again I'll let someone else explain why that's odd - how come CNET was sold for less than $2 billion when it was worth nearly $20 billion just a few years ago. This time it's Mr Arrington who's explaining why CNET isn't the one buying CBS.

Here's the thing... Icahn has had some involvement with CNET himself. I think it's an excellent illustration of what Yahoo now face (and a time when Microsoft is lurking somewhere in the shadows...).

In the States there is a law called the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The Act means you've got to own up and say when you've bought more than 5% of someone's shares. Have you ever played cards with someone only to discover, all of a sudden, they've won the game... they've got rid of their last card and you didn't see it coming. You didn't see it coming because they kept their hand hidden under the table. The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act is designed to stop companies being bought in the same way! With the Act in place no single person can buy a dribble of shares here, a dribble of shares there and sneak into position of strength.

Although; it's worth noting that Icahn (Mr) has 3% of Yahoo and is still in a position of strength.

Given the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act you can imagine CNET's surprise when, all of a sudden, they worked out that someone had managed to sly a full %21 of their company!

No. Icahn didn't lead the charge but he was involved. It is possible for hedge funds to deal with one and other and buy shares for one another. For example, you might buy some Yahoo shares for me - and you'll own them. We'll sign a deal that at a pre-arranged time you'll sell them on to me. We'll work it so that no one looses out if the shares go up or down in value and in exchange I'll pay your a handling fee.

That's what happened to CNET. Mr Icahn was one of the players in the elaborate series of "phantom buyers" who bought shares in the snare the hedge funds circled around CNET.

The New York Times has a more thorough write up than I do.

So Yahoo... Mr Icahn holds %3 of your shares. I wonder how many of your shares his allies hold and have already signed over.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Microsoft promotes Skull Worship

MSN's popular searches currently include one for Skull Worship.

Have the cannibals taken over at Microsoft?

No. Well; probably not. We may have a US game show that's asked a question about Skull Worship (ah, Indiana Jones - I think you're to blame for this one) and the MSN-using / game-show-watching demographic overlap has gone out and searched for the answer.

Or... it could be one of the search suggestions at Indy Search.

The suggested 'winning' searches may have been enough to move the needle on MSN's over all search volume. That would suggest that Indy Search is being a hit for MSN Live and for Lucas Films.

Of course, if you're cynical you might wonder if this is a 'paid for popular search' - but that honestly that seem unlikely. There's probably not a strong enough tie between skull worship results and the film's search positions in MSN yet.

As a PS; a good place to go look for the 'Big US Game Show Effect' is Google's Hot Trends.

Monday, May 12, 2008 for digital marketing

PMOG launched today. As a gamer and a digital marketer it interests me greatly.

Very briefly, PMOG is a Firefox extension that follows you around the web and gives your virtual cash for visiting new pages (yeah; it's a tracking program...)

As a user you can mine pages to leave an unwelcome surprise for the next PMOGer to visit. You can also leave a crate with a pile of loot. It is also possible to leave a portal that connects one site to another.

Due to PMOG's event stream I can be pretty certain that when I leave a crate on a site that someone will turn up sharpish to investigate (in fact, I would question whether the event stream is helping the game aspect or not) ... but right now, if I want to bring someone to a newly launched site then I can lure them in with crates.

It took less than 10 minutes for someone to turn up and raid a crate I had left on Andy Beal's twitter profile. So far people have managed to avoid the mine I left on... oh, I'm not going to say who's profile I mined!

I can also build brand association between two sites (not to mention steal a dribble of traffic) via portals. I went to The Register today and found a PMOG portal from a player suggesting I visit SlashDot too. I did. First time in ages.

It's also possible to create 'missions'. Now, missions are just visiting a bunch of sites in order and reading the creator's commentary.

My first attempt was to make one of the pages in the mission a set of Yahoo search results but the PMOG commentary layer wouldn't activate so I had to take the page out of the mission. I don't know whether PMOG have excluded Yahoo on purpose or whether it's a 'feature'. It may be a good idea as people can try and game Yahoo Search Assist by creating artificially high query rates.

PMOG clearly does have something to say about search. The badge at the top of this post is the Indie and is awarded if you avoid Google for a day.

I suspect I'm going to keep PMOG installed for a while and see how the site grows. It seems like an ideal place to launch virals and win the attention of online gamers (who are typically very savvy and often adept at ignoring advertising).

Friday, May 09, 2008

Live Blogging - good, bad or what you make it?

There's been a bit of banter today on Twitter about live blogging and conferences. One side of the line argues that live blogging is a threat to speakers - all of a sudden the speaker is sharing their IP with a wider audience than just the conference attendees. The other side of the line points out that the speaker is putting their information in public anyway - conferences often make the presentations available online, anyway.

I'm interested in this topic for two reasons, 2) conferences are no longer a place to go if you're already in the industry and are hoping to learn and 1) live bloggers can decide the fate of products.

At an event like E3 there is a lot of live blogging and micro-blogging. Manufacturers have to make a good first impression on the the live bloggers or risk FAIL messages zooming around the internet. I'd say that bloggers could make or break some products within seconds of their launch. Seconds.

That's a scary thought, huh? How long before we see digital marketing agencies / search / social marketing agencies lining up to offer stage and presentation advice? Here's how to launch your product during this expo and in such a way as to encourage positive live blogging.

By the way, I tried live blogging SES New York this year. It's hard work! I managed to do a few sessions. I took notes, re-wrote and published during the breaks. I was exhausted. I've no idea how people like Lisa Barone have the stamina and typing accuracy to make it through the three (plus) days!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Share with Google Reader

I'm already a big fan of the 'Share a Page' Google Reader Bookmarklet.

Sure people can fake out what the page actually says by re-writing the summary of the page but aren't these people supposed to be your friends? Try that once on me and you're dumped.

I share discoveries a lot by RSS. It is simply wonderful to be able to share single pages; suddently my daily Mixx summary is worth twice as much as it was worth before.

I also have a diverse group of friends. What I'd really like from Google Reader is a tag/label based share system. I want to be able to share some content with people and mark it 'search' so it only goes to the people interested in 'search'. I'd like to be able to share different content with people and mark it 'gaming' so it only goes to my geeky RPGamer buddies!

Increasingly Google Reader is the centre of my universal. My web comes to me in RSS streams and I manage all that via Google Reader. I love the way I can handle the incoming data - I just want more control on my outgoing data!

Monday, May 05, 2008

CPC determined by visit history

I seem to be having a t-shirt flavoured Gmail AdWords week. This is Google's targetting system; I clicked on one and so now their system is tempting me with more t-shirt goodness.

This could be my favourite AdWord of all time.

The site in question can be found selling Engrish t-shirts here. Don't go clicking on the poor site's AdWords campaigns.

The ad reads: can help you with our pleasure. Let's shopping t-shirts!

The t-shirt AdWord which first caught my attention this week was for Torso Pants. I liked the site so much that I bookmarked it using my Google toolbar. I'll buy something later.

Here's a thought; I bookmarked Torso Pants via Google. Google continues to show me AdWords for Torso Pants. If more people actually used Google's bookmarking feature then I, as an advertiser, would want an AdWords option which let me decide whether or not to show my ads to people who had already bookmarked me.

I might decide - they know about my niche store already; I don't want to ad serve them.
I might decide - I want to remind them that I'm here; I do want to ad serve them.

In fact, you can take that concept and simply throw away the Google bookmarking feature. Wouldn't it be a good idea if you could set CPC based on whether the searcher had been on your site recently, some time in the past or never before?

Disclaimer: I'm heavily NDA'd by Google but, at the time of this post, I've never talked to them about CPCs determined by visit history. If I had knowledge of CPC/visit history features then I wouldn't be blogging this!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Twhirl or Alert Thingy

I'm a Twhirl user. I'm in two minds as to whether I like the way they've integrated FriendFeed support. Why the two windows? Why not one?

Using Twist to measure Twitter chat suggests that the battle between the two applications is going to be a close one.

If you don't see a graph here then that means Twist's embed feature is borked again.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Google cleans up Next Blog >> Presses

Back in January 2007 I did a study on next blog button pushes on blogger and blogspot. Google puts a bar across blogpost hosted blogs which lets users, well, log in, post, search or randomly reach another blog. It's really an advert for the service.

I counted how many button pushes it took for me to reach 100 English language non-spam blogs. It took 241 button pushes. I also discovered a lot of spam; in particular redirects to porn sites.

I've repeated this exercise this week and can say that the random button never once took me to porn at all. On a few occasions it took me to a hard sell site that was essentially a spam landing page.

Google's cleaned up the button. So, it is better? Ah... last year it took me 241 button pushes to find 100 English language sites. This year it took 309.

The difference is in non-English blogs. They've doubled from last year. There are a few reasons for this; Wordpress and SixApart are likely to be clawing market share away from Blogger in the UK, Canada and the USA. The Next Button isn't entirely random it; it's reciprocal and some geographic areas (thus languages) may be more likely to press the button than others.

My chart for 2007 looked like this:

The chart for 2008 looks like this: