Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Google killed Blogger Web Comments for FireFox. Did you notice?

Some time ago Google issued a little FireFox extension called Blogger Web Comments for FireFox which automatically checked to see whether there were any Blog Search results which included chat about the URL you were on.

For example, you could land on "New To You SEO Blog X" and the little icon on the bottom right of FireFox would tell you what Blog Search thought of the blog. It was interesting at first but I stopped noticing it a long time ago...

... in fact, I didn't even notice the extention failed to survive the jump to FireFox 3.

Coventry Building Society - When a place name is a brand

Given all the hoo-ha over the credit crunch I thought I'd check out how safe my mortgage was (not that I'd object to loosing my mortgage!).

I'm with the Coventry building society. The keyphrase search was an easy one [Coventry Building Society]. Google inserts a map result via Universal Search.

Google's found me lots of building societies in Coventry. Hmm. Not really the result I was looking for. Furthermore all the map links; A through to J link through to the same URL - The Coventry Building's Society's homepage. Not really that useful.

I'd call this a 'false positive' for Universal Search. The algorithm figured my keyphrase search [Coventry building society] was worthy of a map result when, in fact, it wasn't.

It's probably good news for the Coventry Building Society as its great brand protection. They own a hefty chunk of page one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blogrunner down - gone

Ooh. Spooky. Blogrunner is so Down that it looks like it's not there any more. Hopefully it's something like a DNS issue and I'm being pointed to the server they've just left...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Outbrain to improve blog recommendations

I use Outbrain's widget to provide rating stars and recommended reading for each post here. In the next few days you may see some changes as Outbrain rolls out some improvements. Here's the email I recieved from Yaron Galai.

Over the next few weeks, we will begin making a few changes to our service to improve the recommendations we show to your readers via the outbrain widget. Under our rater, we will begin mixing links from your own site with links to external content that is highly relevant to the reader. The recommended content may come from your own site, a major media company or from blogs of all sizes with quality posts. Each content source has been approved so you don’t have to worry about questionable content showing up on your blog. This change is designed to improve the user experience on blogs by giving readers a wider range of content to choose from that’s tailored to them as an individual reader. That said, quality trumps here at outbrain, so if we don’t have a great recommendation for your readers, we may choose to show no links at all.

Here's how the recommendations may appear:

This change has several benefits:

Readers like it: readers love discovering interesting posts and content from around the web. Just as they enjoy your blog for its original content, they will also appreciate your blog for pointing them to outside articles & posts that are interesting to them. Many in the industry have been researching the positive effect of external linking on reader engagement. Scott Karp from Publishing 2.0 is the latest blogger to post about the benefits of providing readers with useful external links. You may want to read this article as Scott points to major sites like the Drudge report for evidence that sites enjoying the highest reader loyalty are those that combine great content with pointers to other interesting articles around the web.

Personalized recommendations: the outbrain recommendation engine will locate the most relevant content from our network to display as recommended links, giving you a “smart” editorial tool to provide personalized value to each of your readers. Often, the best recommendations will be from your own site. We will not sacrifice quality for quantity: if we can’t show a good recommendation to a reader, we won’t try to.

Syndication: by sharing links across sites, your posts may be recommended on other blogs as well, providing you with additional traffic and a wider potential audience.
We’re excited about the change and think it will improve our service for bloggers and readers alike. If, however, you do not want your readers to receive targeted recommendations from trusted sources on your site, and prefer instead to limit recommendations to your own content, here’s how to adjust your settings:

  1. Log into your outbrain account*
  2. Click ‘Manage Blogs’
  3. Click ‘Settings’ next to the blog you want to change
  4. Change the Recommendations setting from ‘Best Recommendations’ to either:
  • ‘Limited Recommendations’ (restricts recommendations to links on your own site)
  • ‘No Recommendations’ (turns off all recommendations)

*If you have not claimed your blog, you will need to do so before you can manage its settings. Claiming your blog will also give you free access to our full suite of reports and blog rating insight. To claim your blog, please follow these instructions after logging in.

And of course, if you need any help feel free to visit our support forum at http://getsatisfaction.com/outbrain or contact us at support@outbrain.com.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for your continued use and support of our product.

Yaron, and the outbrain crew

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google Suggest Mobile - in Spain

Most people know of Google Suggest through its presence on Google.com. It's not yet presence on Google.co.uk, Google.es or any other Google non-US/Global site.

Well; unless you're on an iPhone that is. Here's a screen grab of what the suggestions look like via Google's Mobile interface for the iPhone and Google.es.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can iPhone app developers cope with international marketing?

TechCrunch has news that the Earthscape iPhone app has been reduced from $10 to $0 for a limited time only. TechCrunch says its great app. Clever people Skyped me to tell me about the deal too.

Needless to say I popped over to the App Store to check it out. Where's what I discovered;

  • $0 = £2.99
  • App = Covers the US in detail
Hmm. I'm in the UK.

I'm sure Earthscape is a great App for American users. What caught my attention was how a 'should be good news story' for Earthscape had transformed into a 'grr, I'm frustrated at Earthscape story' for me in just a few seconds.

I suspect it's going to be quite a challenge for some iPhone App developers to keep up with the demands of international users.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome says Stay Away From Google.co.uk

I blogged about Google.co.uk's security certificate issues last week. Google's new browser, Chrome, is even harsher on the site but at least the warning explains what caused the problem.

I tend to get this error simply by clicking on the 'Reader' link in the shortcut links at the top of Gmail. 

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gmail PPC tactics

What do you think of the Gmail/Google Mail grab above and the PPC ad / sponsored link it shows?

I think the ad is trying to pass itself off as part of the Gmail interface... as an email itself. If so then I'm surprised it's allowed. In fact, given that the premise of the ad text is a lie, I wouldn't be surprised if Google pulls it.

We'll see this sort of thing more often as Gadget Ads start to take off.