SimCity & Google Earth

May 20th
posted in

SimCity was always one of my favorite games. kpaul recently noticed a new site by the name of Chicago Crime, which overlays crimes with their locations using Google Maps. Pretty scary to see that in Chicago there was over a murder a day last month.

What kind of ad marketplace would Google have if they:

  • integrated Google maps and public data into a social network

  • which linked to - or allowed people to upload - business feedback (think Local Froogle)
    • should I buy from here?

    • what other businesses are cheaper or provide better service?
    • should I consider working here?
    • who else is hiring in this field or near here?

    and destination reviews

    • is this place worth visiting?

    • when is best?
    • who has the best travel deals?

They also could show the history and trust rating of reviewers, as well as letting you determine how many social connections away you were willing to accept reviews from, maybe they could match up personalities or demographic profiles if people gave them that data, or they could let you create your own combined metric.

Add a strong recommending engine technology to that (like how says "of the people who viewed this product ultimately 37% ended up buying XYZ") and Google will serve ads that know what you want even when you don't.

Google has data worth lots and lots of money. It will be interesting to see how they aggregate content and collect feedback to leverage their market position.

Any merchant heavily exposed to the web which is not building communities or other hard to replicate assets may end up in the hurt locker in the next couple years.

Google's ad serving technology is still somewhat primative. As time passes and more major networks leverage their market postions more and more merchants will get marginalized by the forces that be.

Google Corporate Desktop Search, New AdWords Blog, Yahoo! Media RSS & Messenger VOIP

Corporate Search:
Google launches desktop search app for businesses

Google Inc. on Wednesday launched a corporate version of its desktop search application. The Google Desktop Search for Enterprise allows employees at companies to search for information on their computers. The free, downloadable application is based on its desktop search tools introduced last year. Google said it collaborated with IBM on the program, which is able to search IBM Lotus Notes messages, among other features.

AdWords Blog:
Cornwall notices a new AdWords blog.

Yahoo! VOIP:
new (Beta) Messenger allows calling over the web from messenger to messenger

Media RSS:
info from Yahoo!

Google AdSense for Atom & RSS Feeds

The purist will hate the ads, but if RSS is going to transition from early adopter to mainstream it will need to pay for itself. The two options are that the RSS post is a summary that brings visitor to your site to see ads or you place ads in your feed. Google wants ads in your feed.

Google, wanting more ad inventory, has opened up Google AdSense for feeds (of course, BETA).

You are supposed to have at least 100 subscribers to sign up to the new AdSense for feeds program.

It's kinda funny how Google determines how feeds are supposed to work so that they justify creating more ad space, for better usability for the user of course ;)

Syndicate the full text of your articles. The more content that is available in a site’s feed, the better the user experience, and the more likely people are to subscribe your feed. If you can’t put the full text of your articles in your feed, then in addition to the headline of each article, include as informative a snippet as possible of the article’s text.

Typically most people do not view a feed until after they subscribed to it, so how does showing the full content of your post in your feed make people more likely to subscribe?

Google Advertising Local Search Offline, New Yahoo! Search Patent

Spam Tools:
Ploppy gets evil

Paul Graham:
I think I link to every article he writes. his latest: Hiring is Obsolete, which says if you are the young & motivated type you can let the market determine your value by starting a startup instead of going to work for mega corp for lower than market value wages.

Free Book:
JenSense spots a new AdSense advertisement video which offers a free copy of Building Your Business with Google for Dummies.

Kansas City:
here I come. says Google Local ads, they are now advertising on radio and in the news paper.

Stock Market:

Yahoo! Adds Trends to Concept Analysis:
Barry notes a Cre8asite thread about a new Yahoo! patent. I have not read it yet, but Bill states:

Amongst other things, the patent application begins to explain how MyYahoo! information might be used to help the search engine create search results.

Search Spam, Marketing, Artificial Intelligence & Search Query Refinement

Search Engine Spam Workshop:
List of some of the presented papers. I will likely review some of those pretty soon.

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

more from Seth

Mobile Social Software:
Google buys see also: The Significance of "Social Software"

New Google PR Blog:
Marrissa Mayer's blog

If Search Engines Could Read Your Mind:
an interesting article by Chris Sherman. here is an exerpt:

We'd much rather waste time scanning results and clicking back and forth among less-than-useful pages than craft a really good query or use search refinement tools.

But while we're doing this, the search engines are observing our behavior, and learning from our fumbling activities.

SEO Press Releases:
a fun one :)

The relevance of "relevance":

Yahoo! Music:

Visitors to Yahoo's Music Unlimited will pay $6.99 a month for access to Yahoo's 1-million-song library. That's less than half what Napster and Real Networks' Rhapsody charge for similar services that permit the transfer of songs to portable music players. source

down to $4.30 per share. other small search providers continue to hurt as well.

outgrowing coolness and forgetting their core products?

War a theme for everything?
New UK based search blog by Neutralize: Search Engine War. BTW, the new Legos Star Wars video game is amazing.

Time Management:
Creative Commons flash file

SEO Multitool:
GoLexa (sorta like a combination of Google & Alexa data with links to other stuff like WhoIs & IP Address) from Fantomaster

Global Google Server Down

May 8th

Earlier today Google was down for 15 minutes. While their company spokesman said it was a DNS issue

"It was not a hacking or a security issue," said Krane. He said the problem was related to the DNS, or Domain Name System, though Krane did not elaborate. The DNS translates domain names for computers.

"Google's global properties were unavailable for a short period of time," Krane said. "We've remedied the problem and access to Google has been restored worldwide."

others have screen shots of SoGo Search and the WhoIs info might not have been matching up for a while.

Recently Google AdWords and AdSense stats were not updating.

Wonder how much money the down time cost them.

Google Web Accelerator Privacy Problems, Google AdSense Channel Blocking, Yahoo! Audio Search

Google Web Accelerator takes your data, and shares it with others?

Block Google Accelerator:
courtesy Fantomaster

Click Fraud:
search engines leave advertisers in the cold lurch. Lurch is a cool word.

Block that Channel:
Google AdSense allows channel blocking

Collaborate and listen, Ice is back with his brand new edition SEO Inc, being cool like Vanilla Ice, sends out a cease and desist letter.

New SEO Tool:
SEO Browser

Audio Search:Sounds like Yahoo! may be first to market

Google Web Accelerator / Data Gobbeler

May 5th

Google gobbles more data by releasing Google Web Accelerator.

Thought I doubt the tool has much use, I love how smart the marketing is. They show a time meter of how much time the tool saved to make it seem as though it is providing an exceptionally useful service for users. To me it just looks like an excuse for Google to try to collect more data.

In my last post there was the following comment

I agree with the premises of privacy, and of not giving people too much information, I just don't know how Google would hurt any individual smart search marketer's business model.

There are many ways Google can hurt many people. One thing you have to worry about with some of these helpful plugins is how often will you see screens like this?
Google Web Accelerator.

If you rely on internet marketing and do not have a strong brand you can count on Google swallowing more and more of your margins as their network will allow the richest & most socially active businesses to learn from and control the search results.

Lots of people were talking about their TrustRank algorithm over the weekend. What I find interesting is just how positively people spin the concept. Just look at this post title:
Future PageRank Helps Reputation And Trustworthiness Shine Over Artificially Inflated Search Results: Google TrustRank
and see how much many people still trust Google.

Fantomaster has a good post about the bigger picture, and the potential end goal of Google:

Most people, even in SEO / SEM, don't seem to be entirely clear about what data mining actually is about. A lot of fuzzy concepts abound, but only a few people seem to realize the commercial potential inherent in owning the world's largest database of trackable and verifiable user behavior.

Take AdWords: a great revenue stream for Google, true; but offhand I'd estimate that the overall value of the data generated from that venture alone probably beats the AdWords revenues by factor 6 or more if properly processed, analyzed, calibrated and marketed.

Google AdWords Relevancy Change, SEW Forums Live Conference

May 4th

Google AdWords Relevancy Changes:

The difference is that now, the CTR of the ad copy itself is factored in, instead of it being solely the CTR of the keyword. Which only makes sense, IMO, given that it is the quality of the keyword and the particular ad it brings up that defines relevance, for a given search. source

sells Google AdWords ads

SearchEngineWatch Forums Live:
mini conference to hit Atlanta Tuesday, June 28th, 8:00am - 1:00pm.

I always like smaller conferences because when they get too big you (as in me) feel lost in the shuffle. It only costs $100 to attend this one. Smart move by JupiterMedia, as this will surely prevent others from having an easy entry into this market space.

Urchin Discount:
Google discounts Urchin price

The $199 per month Urchin On Demand also now includes report profiles for up to fifty individual websites (Urchin's previous offering included reporting for only one site). The price includes up to 100,000 pageviews per month. Users can add one million more pageviews for only $99 more per month.

In addition to the reduced price and increased number of profiles, Urchin On Demand is now able to import -pay--per-click costs directly from Google AdWords accounts.

Many smart search marketers probably are not willing to be paid to give Google all their data. As time passes you can be sure that Google will drop their costs further as they try to kill off the business models of everthing between them and ad dollars.

Look, Fwht, & Mama are dropping like it's not hot. InfoSpace (which does search & mobile technology) recently lost about 30% of their market value as well

Google Sandbox & the Problems with Link Analysis Software

May 3rd

When I was new to SEO I did a bunch of on the page analysis to try to figure out exactly what other people are doing. The problem is that it gets you focused on things that do not matter. A site may end up ranking high at the sacrifice of conversion.

As search algorithms advance basic link analysis tools, at least for Google, are starting to become what keyword density tools are: a waste of time.

Link analysis software was cool, especially when Google used to show all of the PageRank 4 and above links, back when their search relevancy algorithm was a bit more dependant on raw PageRank.

Now Google only shows a limited random set of backlinks, and the other search engines also limit the search depth to 1,000 results, which makes it hard to do useful analysis with the various link analysis tools on the market.

If it were quick and easy to query a database deeply (deeper than 1,000) then the link analysis tools would be much more useful. None of them currently on the market really make that a quick and easy process.

The other problem mentioned above, of harder relevancy algorithms, is not one that is going to go away. WMW supporters forum has a thread about the Google "Sandbox". A friend of mine just got through reading the whole thing, stating that most of it was of little value, but he found a couple posts enlightening. The second post here by Ron Burk has some good tidbits

To keep improving the results, you find more variables for the algorithm-creating machine to use, and you add to your store of human-ranked pages for it to "learn" from. What you don't do is bother understanding the actual algorithm -- it was constructed by a machine and is way too complex for anyone to keep in their head.
Psychologists have shown repeatedly that when you give people a system to optimize, all you have to do is secretly introduce a delay between their actions and the results of their actions, and they will go bonkers. In fact, in a very simple (single variable!) model in which people are trying to control the temperature in a virtual refridgerator, you can get some of the same irrational responses you see in these forums

and the first post here by Captain CaveMan (which incidentally is the name of an awesome cartoon character) does as well:

Without giving away the store, I don't know how else to say it. There is no sandbox. People speak of it as though it were some simple 'thing' that stops new sites from being seen. That has simply never been true. What was true was that in its early days, some of the algo elements and related filters were so tight that only a very few new sites got past them (some accidentally; some methodically). Over time that changed; more sites started getting out, presumably as G worked to surface more new, higher quality sites.

There is no sandbox. There is only a serious of rotating algo's and related filters, that make it far harder for sites launched after spring of '04 to be widely seen in the SERP's. Not impossible. Harder. And certainly not as hard now as was true seven months ago. This has been hashed and rehashed so many times that it's hard to understand why it's still confusing.

If you can only see a few of the variables and overexert effort to satisfy those variables you may end up tripping filters and not satisfying other criteria.


    Email Address
    Pick a Username
    Yes, please send me "7 Days to SEO Success" mini-course (a $57 value) for free.

    Learn More

    We value your privacy. We will not rent or sell your email address.