Rank for Penis, Go to Jail

It seems politicians don't like this Internet thing too much. A 23 year old Polish man is facing 3 years in prison for ranking his president #1 for penis.

Google AdWords Broad Match = Potential Typosquatting Lawsuits for Advertisers

Avi Wilensky, a friend of mine, recently got a cease and desist letter from Realogy Corporation because his Google broad match ads for Mark David NY ended up on a dirty Google syndication partner site. In spite of many attempts to contact Google, they have remained silent on the issue, and continue to serve ads on cit-ihabitats.com, and thousands of other sites just like it.

Google could choose to attempt to keep their network clean, but there is too much money there to ignore it. They are the spam police telling you how you should link. They are not to be questioned in their business practices. When they screw up, it is the fault of an algorithm or a reflection of the democratic nature of the web, and they didn't know any better.

More Backlinks = Worse?

In the last post I pointed out one example of how more links could actually be a bad thing.

While I have been touring Europe with Werty and Radiohead Greg Boser started blogging again. He posted about how a Gokart site started ranking for Amish furniture in Google.

Greg stated:

I don’t think most webmasters truly understand the impact (both negative and positive) pre-existing links can have on a project.

He then stated:

Regardless of who is responsible, the end result is the same. The gokart site gets hosed. Google has determined both domains point to a single site, and that has caused the anchor text of the two separate domains to be combined. Now that really wouldn’t be so bad if you still were able to rank for the phrase combinations from each individual domain. I know if I sold gokarts and mini bikes, I wouldn’t mind the occasional email asking why I show up for amish furniture as long as I ranked well for my core phrases.

But that’s not typically what happens. When you inherit a bunch of off-topic anchor text, more often than not you just end up ranking for a bunch stupid phrases that no one actually searches for.

Greg also did a follow up titled My Naïveté which solidifies his position, and then posted how to protect your domain from competitive sabotage.

Privacy, User Data, Trust and Marketing

I wish I could add more to Danny's excellent coverage of the government's bogus overarching power grab for data from search engines, but I can't, so I just want to parrot it. :)

The US government requested not personally identifiable search data from AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo! in an effort to evaluate how often children might find porn on the web. Everyone but Google handed it over. The US government is now suing Google.

The stock market punished Google heavily on this and other news, with the stock dropping from about $470 to $399 a share last week. While Google may have wanted to keep the data for trade secret related reasons they also win a ton of user trust by being the only company which said no to the request.

Compare their position to MicroSoft. Only after Google made this request an issue by denying it did news come out that other search companies, like MSN, gave over data last summer.

How did MSN's recent post make them look?

A prime opportunity was missed last summer. Back then there was a chance to come out at a time when Google was being pounded over privacy concerns and stand up to the government instead of folding like a cheap lawn chair and working out some technical response that we would only learn about months later when the heat was on and they had to say something. Shameful, really.

As a person who likes search this lawsuit makes me wish I was a bit smarter so I could work at Google.

As a marketer I think Google being the only one doing what they are doing is a great thing for them.

  • This heavily undermines the Google can't be trusted with data meme.

  • By being the content in the news they raise their brand exposure. If you ARE the content that people are talking about advertising is not needed to gain market share.
  • By standing up against the government they gain user trust. It is going to be hard for a competitor to build an ad demand network of Google's scale while also trying to build that much trust at the same time.

I think this incident enhances Google's implied value, as it will surely increase their market share.

Regulating Search Conference @ Yale

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School is hosting "Regulating Search?: A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy," the first academic conference devoted to search engines and the law. "Regulating Search?" will take place on December 3, 2005 at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT.

Topics covered:

  • Panel 1: The Search Space
    This panel will review the wide range of what search engines do and their importance in the information ecosystem.

  • Panel 2: Search Engines and Public Regulation
    This panel will discuss the possibility of direct government regulation of search functionality.

  • Panel 3: Search Engines and Intellectual Property
    This panel will review past and present litigation involving search engines and claims framed in the legal doctrines of copyright, trademark, patent, and right of publicity.

  • Panel 4: Search Engines and Individual Rights
    This panel will look at the role of search engines in reshaping our experience of basic rights and at the pressures the desire to protect those rights place on search.

Early bird registration fees (early registration ends on Nov. 15):

  • $35 for students

  • $75 for academic and nonprofit
  • $165 for corporate and law firm participants

Google Problems in China

Taiwan recently whined to Google about their maps calling Taiwan a providence of China, and recently Google maps changed. Apparently removing the providence of China bit pissed off China:

Shortly after Taiwan's foreign ministry formally complained, the China reference abruptly disappeared from Google's Taiwan map last week. That change has provoked cries of dismay in China and talk of a possible boycott of Google's service in that country, according to Chinese media.

Google has quickly backpeddled about the reasons behind the change, saying they were just trying to clean up the map image.

The change doesn't reflect Google's political opinion on the dispute, according to company spokeswoman Debbie Frost. She said Google wanted to enlarge its map images to make them even easier for users to see, so it removed all text from the left corner of the Web page.

Since when do you rename countries and providences to clean up the map?

Gmail UK No More?

From SlashDot:

As of today, UK Gmail users are seeing 'Google Mail' at the top of their Gmail accounts, and Google is warning they may lose their '@gmail.com' addresses in the future.

Google may be fighting on as many fronts as MicroSoft is!

Gmail recently became Google Mail in Germany as well:

Earlier this year, Google lost the right to use Gmail in Germany, following a dispute with the Hamburg-based finance firm. Giersch registered "Gmail – und die Post geht richtig ab." with the German Patent Office five years ago. Following a court injunction awarded by a German court in favour of Giersch earlier this year, Google's German customers have been using addresses ending @googlemail.com.

More Google Print Lawsuits

Recently Google was sued by the Authors Guild for copyright infringement. It seems the Google Print product is making a few more enemies, as publishers sue Google as well:

Book publishers sued Google, escalating a nasty spat over the search-engine giant's ambitious book-indexing project.

The Association of American Publishers said it sued the Mountain View, Calif., Internet giant Wednesday morning after talks broke down.

McGraw-Hill, Wiley, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster are named as plaintiffs in the suit.

John Battelle sees no point to the suit:

I really don't get this. I have been both a publisher and an author, and I have to tell you, these guys sue for one reason and one reason alone, from what I can tell: Their legacy business model is imperiled, and they fear change. Of course, if they can get out of their own way, they'll end up making more money.

I wonder if Google will respond by blacklisting any publishers. Google only needs a few major publishers to start seeing increased revenues due to Google Print for the rest to follow along.

Google vs MicroSoft

Kai-Fu Lee can work for Google ahead of the MicroSoft lawsuit ruling:

A judge ruled Tuesday that a former Microsoft Corp. executive in China can carry out most tasks rival Google Inc. hired him to carry out, the Associated Press reported. A state judge ruled Kai-Fu Lee, the executive, can recruit and work on staffing for a Google research center in China ahead of a ruling in a suit between the companies set for trial in January.

That makes the non compete fairly useless since:

  • it is only 1 year

  • he can work ahead of the court ruling
  • surely the court will drag out the case until nearly the end of the 1 year term

Google Geiko Trademark Suit Settled Out of Court

CNN reports the remainder of the landmark trademark case between GEICO and Google was settled out of court:

GEICO, the No. 4 U.S. auto insurer and a unit of investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Research), said a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was "resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties."

Google has allowed rival insurance companies to bid on the term GEICO to target pay per click ads. Some rivals also included the term in the ad copy. In the past a US district court judge ruled against allowing trademark terms in ad copy, but as of today I still see three insurance companies listed in AdWords when you search Google for [GEICO].

If you bid on competing company names recognize that it is viewed as being somewhat aggressive by many business owners, and some of them may:

  • bid on your name

  • spread hate messages about you or your company
  • send bogus C&D or lawsuits your way
  • try to undermine your business in other ways

The settlement terms were confidential. The article also stated that these settlement types usually involve money. No doubt this is huge for Google, as it further validates their business model.

Not sure if this will pan out, but some search marketer might do well to run an ad on Google triggered by GEICO today. :) Daventics got a bunch of link popularity by doing so in the past.