Overture VS FindWhat - Mistrial

Huge news for the beaten down FWHT stock, which was recently down to 4.07 from it's 52 week high of 23.94, gained about 10% on the day.

A judge declared a mistrial in a patent infringement lawsuit between Yahoo Inc. and FindWhat.com Inc. after a jury failed to reach a decision on all of the issues in the case, FindWhat.com said on Thursday.

In a note to clients on Wednesday, RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan said the most likely outcome of the case would be a modest out-of-court settlement. He estimated that FindWhat could settle the case for around $7 million to $8 million.

Rohan said some investors had worried that a ruling against FindWhat in the case could wipe out the majority of the company's $50 million cash balance.

Most of the second tier search stocks are fading into irrelevance. Maybe this will help FWHT hang on a little longer. Also noted eariler today:

FindWhat.com noted the judge has yet to rule on the issue of whether the patent is unenforceable because of inequitable conduct committed by Overture. A hearing on the inequitable conduct issue and other motions that could impact the ultimate outcome of the case is currently scheduled for June 24, 2005.

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 Dodgeball.com. 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

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

Gooooogle:
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

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

Privacy:
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

Stop:
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

AdWords in RSS, Various other Links...

Easy to Compare:
Wal Mart & Google, except that Google has a strong brand.

Blogs:
more than a spit fight

Death of Newspapers:
The future of journalism

AdWords Spying:
GoogSpy looks scrapes hundreds of thousands of searches from Google to determine who is bidding on what terms. The idea is killer, but the implementation is a bit lacking. Link found from ThreadWatch.

Google AdSense in RSS:
alpha testing

RSS Spamming:
RSS Injector

Niche Tips:
an old WMW thread

Book:
Steven Berlin Johnson, one of my favorite authors, announced the release of Everything Bad Is Good for You

Boston:
Search Engine Meeting, reviewed

Cheap Hosting Ads?

Not sure if many host companies are advertising for common errors at other hosts which their hosting packages support, but I would be willing to bet DOMXML hosting and DOM XML hosting and other similar derivative keywords are cheap ads - at least they looked it a few minutes ago.

Probably not a ton of traffic, but well targeted leads.

Just an idea for those stuck in that hyper competitive market. Not saying that I think people should sell hosting on the cheap, just that there might be some unsold inventory.

BTW, I have not got much feedback about Hub Finder yet. Apparently the host where it was hosted stopped supporting it.

Fatal error: Call to undefined function: domxml_open_mem

There is another copy here and here, and you can place the source code on your site if you want (change index.txt to index.php). Do you like it, or think it sucks, or...?

Google Advertising Professional Update

Google offers free link AdWords coupons:

  • Qualified Google Advertising Professionals receive sets of five credits worth $100 each.

  • Non-Qualified Google Advertising Professionals receive sets of three credits worth $50 each.

It also looks like there is a yearly quota of 60 credits. As you sign up more accounts I believe you earn more credits.

You also can link to your qualified profile page, although many SEOs do not see the program as being worthwhile with Google poaching clients from some qualified professionals.

I also find it amusing that the links on the profile page asking these questions

  • How can I tell if a professional is really Qualified?

  • Who has access to AdWords and client manager account information?

are broken links. hehehe. Shows they must have threw this idea together in a hurry or they must not think much of the program.

Google sure is trying to create a lot of buzz before reporting their quarterly results.

Click Fraud Click Fraud Click Fraud

Clickity click click click...

In the past few days there have been a great number of articles, posts, and threads about click fraud. Today I woke up with an inbox that had a few emails about click fraud.

[update: Fantomaster found a blog about ClickFraud]

eMarketer says Click Fraud Is Starting to Scare Marketers

Advertisers should be able to opt in or out of advertising on specific sites.

Joe Holcomb, SVP at BlowSearch, recently wrote these articles:

Scott Blum, of Buy.com also has some type of click fraud patent.

News Losing Ad Revenue:
Despite the claims of PPC fraud Wall Street Journal was hit by lower ad spend, and yet financial ads account for 20% of online ads.

[update 2: Gary Stein found this 15 minute real audio file about the death of mass media advertising.]

This Wall Street Journal article (sub req) talks about Yahoo's small and nimble new search service which is outpacing most of the giants. Even Rupert Murdock knows he is behind the curve.

Other PPC News:
Yahoo! Buys Brazilian PPC Search Network

Google is testing placing a third ad in the premium position. BAD CALL. Andrew Goodman also feels their bid optimizer is a bad call.

ThreadWatch finds sites about cheap clicks and expensive clicks.

The Dow Jones Industrial average is down 4% in the last 3 days. Yahoo! will be announcing quarterly results Tuesday & Google will be announcing their Q1 2005 results Thursday.

Google AdWords Launches Budget Optimizer

What's the Google Budget Optimizer(TM) tool?

The Google Budget Optimizerâ„¢ campaign management tool automatically adjusts your keyword Max CPCs on your behalf. All you need to do is set a target budget, and the Budget Optimizer will actively seek out the most clicks possible within that budget.

The Budget Optimizer helps you reach your target spend every month without requiring a lot of work on your part. You can save time, eliminate the guesswork related to setting your CPCs, and enhance your return on investment.

(Please note that the goal of the Budget Optimizer is simply to help you receive the highest number of clicks possible within your budget. The Budget Optimizer will not help you achieve a specific ad position.)

They certainly are going out of their way to make the ads as "self serve" as they possibly can. I do not manage many AdWords campaigns so I probably am not the best person to test this out, but it would be interesting to hear what effect this tool actually has on ROI.

With how far off Google is with day to day search volume / ad clickthrough suggestions it is interesting that they think people will trust a system which automatically adjusts bids for them based on a metric other than ROI. Of course some marketers do not want to share ROI data with Google.

I also believe that if a campaign is self funding there is no reason to put an arbitrary budget cap on it. Buy as many ads as you profitably can.

I am guessing that if you enable this feature you will want to enable it in ad groups where the keyword max CPCs and lead values are similar.

Mikkel spoke out against the use of budgeting tools recently (as older ones overspent on CPC), so it will be interesting to see if this one actually delivers on its claims.

A while back Danny Sullivan said search engines want to sell traffic on a per lead basis more than a per term basis, and clearly this is a step in that direction.

Click Fraud Class Action Lawsuit?

From the WSJ (sub req):

A group of advertisers quietly filed a lawsuit in February against Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other Internet companies in a potentially important legal test of those companies' liability for a form of online-advertising fraud.

The plaintiffs, led by Lane's Gifts & Collectibles LLC, a Texarkana, Ark., retailer, allege that the Internet companies knowingly overcharged for advertisements they sold and conspired with each other to continue doing so. The plaintiffs are seeking to have their suit, which hasn't received widespread attention, certified as a class action.

The also named AOL, Ask, Disney, Lycos, LookSmart, and FindWhat in the suit.

The search engines have antifraud systems and sometimes issue refunds for bogus clicks. But they decline to comment in detail on the scope of the problem, exactly how they are fighting it, and any specific instances of click fraud, in part because they don't want to tip off fraudsters. That has fed some advertisers' fears that the problem is bigger than the search companies acknowledge. Estimates of click fraud run as high as 20% of all clicks on search ads.

Yahoo! has been making a strong run in the stock market for the last week, and Google is valued at 49 billion. Nobody has really challenged this issue yet. If this gets pushed it could get rather ugly quick for search stocks. Google makes 99% of their income from ads.

Go Network to Use Overture, Black Hat PPC Techniques, Creating Bulk Content

The Go Network:
is to Go from Google to Overture

Black Hat:
PPC Techniques. First time I have seen an article about Black Hat PPC. Good stuff Mikkel.

I do understand the reasons as they want to know what pages they send users to but why on earth does Google have to reset my hard earned high CTR if all I change is an added tracking parameter? In any case, I am not going to pay for it!

The simple solution is to set-up some kind of layer between you and them so the URL you use is actually not the one that shows the content.

Content, Content, Content:
A couple newerish (is that a word) products aim to help people grab or create loads of content. I have yet to use any of these.

  • Article Equalizer - pulls articles from various content sources. I think he also created traffic equalizer, rss equalizer, and many other equalizer products. Wonder if he will eventually release the ultimate equalier suite. ;)

  • AdSense Gold - evidently comes with thousands of articles
  • ArticleBot - rewrites articles using grammar rules, allows you to dynamically reorganize SERPs, can mix up content and create many readable articles from a given seed set
  • Yahoo! Creative Commons search - seach for content that can be freely used
  • some people translate and then untranslate content.
  • how not to steal content 101

LinkExplore:
reviewed

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