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Google courting Twitter?

Feb 12, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, internet, internet news, Media, twitter  //  Comments Off

The newest hype to hit the tech wire would have to be the talks which have been occuring with Twitter, Facebook and Google. Rumor has it that the seriousness of the talks hasn’t reached a fevered pitch as of yet, but that Twitter is courting the two giants is enough to make the industry ears twitch.

The current evaluation of Twitter is somewhere in the $10 billion range, a solid improvement from it’s worth last year being tagged at just short of $4 billion. Whether or not the search, or social media giant will actually pay this amount is in doubt. Twitter has tried only a handful of money making schemes, but on the whole the media which Twitter introduced to the world doesn’t have a lot of marketing punch. It’s a useful tool for some industries and aspects of day to day interaction, but with having to reduce your world to 140 characters at a time, it can leave you short on the information side. Speculation around the talks has been springing up which supports the idea that because Twitter is running out of ideas to market itself and make it’s own money, it’ll instead sell it’s idea and worth to continue on.

Which giant could benefit the most from the purchase of Twitter isn’t a question, as Facebook already has it’s own micro-blogging idea built in in status updates. Google most definitely would have the most to gain with the purchase of the site, it might even provide the search giant with the social boost it needs to begin carving it’s own tiny niche in the social arena.

Choosing a side in Bing vs Google

Feb 9, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   bing, Google, internet news  //  Comments Off

The drama between Bing and Google is dieing down, it seems that both sides have thrown the punches at each other and the name calling is dieing down. There’s been shots fired across each others respective bows, the evidence however is still rather difficult to deny.

Google setup some search results in order to determine if their hunch was correct about Bing skimming reseults. It can be construed as underhanded to setup a competitor, realisitcally though it proved their point. What Google found was that when a user searched using the Google engine, in the IE8 browser those results are (allegedly) being used as data to build the Bing search results. Bing fired back with the examples of the image search, search results layout and a few other technological upgrades that Google has incorporated into their search.

You can find more than enough information about the row between the two search giants anywhere online with a quick search ironically. Everyone has an opinion on the matter of course, but I think the white elephant in the room has to be mentioned. Tech companies always borrow, beg and steal ideas and methods from each other, especially if those methods work and draw an audience. Google realized from a visual perspective, that the elements Bing had incorporated into their results pages were popular to users. On the other side of the fence, Bing used user data and click throughs from the IE8 browser and use of the Bing bar to help build their results pages.

One company borrows visual elements to a search page, the other company borrows the actual contents of the search results pages. Apples and oranges in my opinion, but as I said earlier we all have one.

The End of IPv4

Feb 5, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   bing, facebook, Google, internet, internet news, search, search engine, Winnipeg  //  Comments Off

The internet is running out of IP addresses, Bing is copying Google, Facebook can’t handle your data and locally we’re resisitant to change. The loss of IPs online has been broached in the last few days, and the as the last block allocations are doled out I’m certain that the naysayers will be heralding the end of the world (wide web). At least on some level of course.

Bing copied Google’s search results on a really obscure search term, as Bing cries foul over Google copying some of their display methods. It’s one thing to copy a snippet tool to display where on a page information was located and a change in how images are displayed. It’s an entirely new bag of snakes when you literally build your results based upon the users actions on another search engine. Bing has cried foul as well over being setup in Google’s honeypot action and well, that was the point. Google noticed a trend of Bings top 10 searches bearing much the same results as Googles. A hypothesis was formulated as to why and how this could happen, and a test was executed. It just so happens that the test came back positive, and Bing has been caught red handed sneaking results. Deal with it, learn from it, for Gods sakes admit it and carry on.

Facebook is no stranger to drama, what with randomly changing privacy permissions and alalowing app developers to scrape user information. But the newest slip up from the social networking giant is perhaps not so much their fault directly, but indirectly. In a showcase as perhaps the biggest reason to maintain control over your information on the web, 250,000 Facebook profiles were scraped to build a dating website. While the act of scraping data is malicious, and Facebook has promptly leapt to legal action to have the site blocked and removed, it bears mentioning that identity thieves don’t care about terms of use on websites. Is it Facebook’s fault directly? Not exactly, but a campaign of information, clearly outlining how to control your information and keep it under lock and key should you so desire is long overdue. As well as refining again the security features and controls, and make them more obvious; perhaps even going so far as to include a big button that says: I want my information to be private!!

And just to switch things to a local, Winnipeg front for a moment. A downtown restaurant, long heralded as an icon in it’s uniqueness, the Paddlewheel Restaurant is to be closed and renovated. In the story I’ve most recently read about the eatery, the vast majority of the comments and content were unhappy with the coming closure, citing their memories of past visits with friends and family as evidence of enduring success. “It doesn’t need to change” and “It shouldn’t change” were the over lording tones of the piece. There was a video accompanying the story, and while it was somewhat saddening to hear about how a visit to the restaurant with their mother and grandmother for a plate of fries and a coke would be gone with the change, change needs to happen. By the way, the aforementioned visit with family, the fries and coke cost 15 cents to purchase. The video was filled entirely with elderly visitors, no doubt the frequenters of the establishment with the exception of one gentleman interviewed whose thoughts were simply “I understand it’s popular among those with a history of coming here”. The idea that change is bad needs to leave the collective thought process of this town, change is anything but bad. Scary, exciting, turbulent and it can even be smooth, safe and uneventful. But it’s never a bad thing. Change is inevitable, it’s when people, places and the environment they exist in cease to change that they wither and die. Take a clue from one of the oldest businesses still in operation today, in order to survive, they need to change.

Brave New World of Search

Feb 4, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   bing, Google, internet, internet news  //  Comments Off

In the midst of the unrest in Egypt, the name calling and hand slapping that’s been going on between Google and Bing. There’s only one other interesting point of note that’s about to occur within the online tech industry.

The world wide web, is about to run out of IP addresses. Just like back when the toll free system ran out of 800 numbers, it won’t be the end of absolutely everything, or anything for that matter, it’s only an eventuality that was expected. The speed at which it’s happened however was a surprise to the web watchers out there. IPv4 has been touted for a long time as being an outdated system, and a backup has long been in the works, there’s only one small catch. At it’s present state, the new standard of IPv6, isn’t compatible with IPv4. One of the biggest issues with compatiblity however is simply an issue of age. A lot of the older software and hardware isn’t quite ready to be compatible with the 64bit addressing system due to come into play. The world of business and productivity has long been overdue for an overhaul in technology, and as the newer IPv6 comes more and more to the forefront as the addressing system of the web, the change will become mandatory.

Only a quick note on the he said/he said drama between Bing and Google, this time it’s Microsoft firing back at the search giant. While the Bing team hasn’t come right out and said “no we don’t swipe Google’s searches” they’ve said that they do use 1,000 different search variables in building their results pages. Additionally, they’ve made it a point to mention that Google has copied some of the search display features which were implemented in the Bing engine. While Google did indeed copy the display of the results, they did not however, scrape results from Bing searches as it’s becoming more and more apparent that this was the tactic used by Bing.

Both of these factors in tandem are set to change the internet and the world of search. It may be time to hang on as it has the potential to be a wild ride.

Bings lack of Privacy

Feb 3, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   bing, Google, internet news  //  Comments Off

In the midst of all of the brouhaha with Microsoft and Google pointing fingers at each other, there’s a few key points that need to be brought to bear.

Yes, this is the online world where an original idea is like a spark from a fire in the night, brilliantly bright and hot and burning out in seconds. That doesn’t mean however that in working in an additional business model, plagiarism is the best route forward. The “sting operation” as it’s been called, which Google used to confirm their suspicions that Bing was directly copying their search results were based around gibberish searches. Around a search term of “mbzrxpgjys” for example. Google ensured from the get go that the term returned no search results in either engine, and when a few weeks later after setting up the trap the same results appeared, the evidence was, well, evident.

The other main argument that’s being circulated in the news and blogs around the web is similar to the first, that all Bing did was keep up the pace with the big dog in the (search) game. It’s easy to concede the point that when you see a successful business model, with room for more in the same field, that it should be somewhat free game to copy a step here and there. Take Groupon and the plethora of clones which have been springing up using the same business model. Bing however, went over the line in copying a step or two. The point which is being left out in the stories as of late, the Bing results were populated via click through data pulled from users of Internet Explorer searching via Google. Users of Internet Explorer, used Google to search for the term “mbzrxpgjys”, and that click through data was used to populate Bing results.

Microsoft Internet Explorer tracks your search query, your click through data and then uses that data from a competing search engine to build their own (Bing) search results page.

Gee, and people worry about Google keeping things private.

Bing Cheating Google!

Feb 2, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   bing, Google, internet news  //  Comments Off

The internet was born out of the idea of collaboration. That you could work on an idea and have your coworker be from the other side of the globe and it would make everything seem that much closer to home and cozy. It’s not a huge surprise that technologies are borrowed and repackaged and used as companies own, but it’s rare that one gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar so to speak. And yet Bing, has just been caught.

Google has come out and said pointedly that Microsoft Bing has been cheating in their search results, and stealing Googles results pages and displaying them as their own. Normally this kind of finger pointing can be downplayed as a type of borrowing, as it’s mainly the idea that’s been used, but in this case Microsoft actually admitted it.

Stefan Weitz, director of Microsoft’s Bing

As you might imagine, we use multiple signals and approaches when we think about ranking, but like the rest of the players in this industry, we’re not going to go deep and detailed in how we do it. Clearly, the overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search, so we can guess at the best and most relevant answer to a given query.

Opt-in programs like the [Bing] toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites. This “Google experiment” seems like a hack to confuse and manipulate some of these signals.

How did Google work out what was going on? Aside from doing individual searches and directly comparing results, Google started noticing a rapidly rising overlap in top 10 results pages with Bing. So in order to verify their suspicions, Google rigged some searches. They created a bunch of fake searches which returned little to no results in Google and in Bing, and then placed a page at the top of those results in order to catch them with their hand in the jar. Because the pages were artificially placed in the results, it would be easy to confirm or deny their suspicions. The full fledged experiment began in mid December, and in just a couple of weeks the results began showing up in the Bing results.

In the end, Bing isn’t really really doing anything illegal, if anything it’s like they’re cheating on their math test. Google does all of the work, Bing reaps the same reward as their search opposition. Because no action could realistically be taken, the decision is in the hands of the users, and it puts a taint on all searches performed in Bing. Are they genuine search returns? Or are they just what they’ve managed to snag from the Google results pages.

A Little Company that do BIG THINGS

Jan 28, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   adwords, branding, Google, internet advertising, internet marketing, online branding, online marketing, search engine optimization, seo  //  Comments Off

We heard this statement the other night from President Obama in his state of the union speech, it made me smile, why? because we are exactly that.

Since our inception on a coffee table back in the UK this is exactly how we have seen ourselves.

Over the years we’ve done big things with major brands like Sony, Sanyo & Best Buy, we’ve worked with celebrities & governments to making a small back street vendor a major player online across North America beating the likes of Sears & Costco, A little company that do big things.

What do we do? Well, everything to do with online search & branding, we have a team buying domain names daily, in fact we see opportunities before most others do, an example was the presidents quote of A little company that do big things, we bought that domain within 5 minutes of him mentioning it, a great slogan, we have done the same with others, company’s spend millions marketing there new project with traditional media, TV ads & Newspapers without first securing the web domains they will need to secure the brand first, how stupid is that at $10 a throw? then they complain when someone beats them to the punch and they have to pay Big Bucks to a little company for there ignorance, it’s just business.

We also run and manage Google Adwords accounts for clients, that’s easy considering I was consulting when the program was being built by Google, but what we really excel at is SEO, yes we know everyone can do this, if this is true then why don’t the company’s or individuals selling the service show up for themselves for major terms on the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, it’s a no brainer, if they cannot list themselves, how do they list you?

Like Obama said, The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an Internet connection.

Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution, Innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.

Call a little company that do big things today on 204.942.4200 it could change your life.

A Year of Change

Jan 25, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   algorithms, Google  //  Comments Off

There is due a shake up in the Google management tree, it’s been spoken of at great length since it was announced last week. This past Friday as well, a couple of what I’d consider large announcements also came from the search giant.

Their own implementation of a Groupon discount shopping site, and the admission via Matt Cutts that yes, they know there’s an issue with spam in the index.

When news of the discount shopping branch was put out on Mashable, a lot of the ruckus I found pertained to the failed bid to buy Groupon. And while it’s been said it’s just a copy cat of the successful sale site, it’s more a copy of the very successful Groupon formula. There’s a dozen other sites out there which have done the same, and Google being Google, they’ve put their own twist on it. Groupon for example pays out 50% of the amount to the business providing the deal advertised. Google, will pay out 80% of the amount immediately, and hold the remaing 20% of the income for 60 days, to assist dealing with returns and what not, and pay the remaining amount out to the advertiser. Google it seems, will survive on interest alone. There’s no initial cost to setup an ad, and just being able to accomodate your offer is often costly enough.

The other big news to come out last week was the blog post from Matt Cutts admitting that yes, spam is starting to populate the search results again. It’s been long speculated, and now that it’s confirmed, we can all wait for the out come. Spam can be characterized as link farms, content farms, content scrapers and aggregating news and information websites. While the latter aren’t technically spam, they’re still not the original creators of the content they may be hosting. With the arrival of Caffiene as the driving force behind the SERPs, Google’s results pages have been devoid of the quality results that many had come to expect. The spam of the internet didn’t go away, it’s worth mentioning, Google merely provided a filter for it. Expect a strong algorithmic change and for your sites to shift in the coming months.

Shaking the Google Tree

Jan 21, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, internet news  //  Comments Off

In a shift from the norm, with Google’s fourth quarter posted, near at the top of the list was a shake up of management structure. Eric is moving, Larry is in and Sergey will be coming up with new ideas.

Starting from April 4, Larry Page, Google Co-Founder, will take charge of Google’s day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Officer.Sergey Brin, Google Co-Founder, will devote his energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.

Eric Schmidt will assume the role of Executive Chairman, focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership–all of which are increasingly important given Google’s global reach. Internally, he will continue to act as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.

It’s not a reflection on the news that’s been made in the last year in the privacy debate according to the trio, but it’s about streamlining the decision making process.

Eric said: “We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we’ll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I’m excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come.”

Larry and Sergey of course have nothing to say poorly about Schmidt, as fulfilling the role of CEO for the last 10 years he’s piloted Google to the top of the internet and made the company profitable hand over fist. The proof of such can be seen in the earnings report, in the fourth quarter of 2010 revenue was up 26% from 2009 to $8.4 billion. You can read the full disclosure on the Google news release.

Mobile Search Advancement

Jan 15, 2011   //   by freshtraffic   //   algorithms, Google, keyword, marketing, mobile, mobile advertising, online marketing, search engine optimization  //  Comments Off

With how compact, powerful and convenient todays smartphones are becoming. The rise of the netbook and tablet pc, it’s not a surprise at all that mobile search, search using the aforementioned techonologies, is growing in leaps and bounds. A very general breakdown of Googles numbers were posted in their blog this past week:

Over the past two years, Google’s mobile searches have grown by more than five times. Furthermore, in the third quarter of 2010, Google mobile searches jumped 130% year over year.

Percentages are amazing to look at and all, but they should also be taken with a some thought; they can make the actual results seem much larger than they are. But onto mobile search! Google, like Bing and other search companies, have their own keyword search tool. They have however, recently added the ability to check which terms are being used in mobile searches.

The Keyword Tool now helps you build a better keyword list to target mobile users. Under “Advanced options,” you can now search for keywords for devices with mobile WAP browsers, mobile devices with full Internet browsers (think iPhone and Android phones), or all mobile devices.

So your site, which by now is hopefully mobile friendly (it is 2011 after all), can be optimized with the mobile market in mind. With the billions of dollars in revenue this past holiday season which were made via mobile techonology, it’s well worth the investment.

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