Amazon Margins Drop, Stock Tanks, Amazon offers Cheaper Express Shipping? , John Battelle Interviewed, AIRWEB Conference

Amazon reported their quarterly results, which fell well below expectations due to lower margins.

They then announced a new program by the name of Amazon Prime, where you get unlimited express shipping for the whole year for a one time $79 fee.

John Battelle:

Interesting Sounding New Conference?
First International Workshop on Adversarial Information Retrieval on the Web

from an email I got

The attraction of hundreds of millions of web searches per day provides significant incentive to content providers to do whatever necessary to rank highly in search engine results. The use of techniques that push rankings higher than they belong is often called spamming a search engine. Such methods typically include textual as well as link-based techniques. Like e-mail spam, search engine spam is a form of adversarial information retrieval; the conflicting goals of accurate results of search providers and high positioning by content providers provides an interesting and real-world environment to study techniques in optimization, obfuscation, and reverse engineering, in addition to the application of information retrieval and classification.

The workshop solicits technical papers and synopses of research in progress on any aspect of adversarial information retrieval on the Web. Particular areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

- search engine spam and optimization,
- crawling the web without detection,
- link-bombing,
- reverse engineering of ranking algorithms,
- advertisement blocking, and
- web content filtering.

Papers addressing higher-level concerns (e.g., whether 'open' algorithms can succeed in an adversarial environment, whether permanent solutions are possible, etc.) are also welcome.


11 February 2005 E-mail intention to submit (optional, but helpful)
25 February 2005 Deadline for submissions
25 March 2005 Notification of acceptance
8 April 2005 Camera-ready copy due
10 May 2005 Date of workshop

The real question of course, is why would you give away spam white papers to a conference where many current search engineers are part of the program committee?

Google Referral Program & Google Karma

Google has launched an affiliate program.

  1. One of your visitors clicks on the graphic or link and is taken to a Google sign-up page.

  2. That person signs up for an AdWords account or applies to become an AdSense publisher.
  3. Advertisers qualify as completed referrals after they spend $20 with AdWords. Publishers qualify after they earn $75 in AdSense revenue.
  4. Every month, Google calculates the number of completed referrals you have directed to Google.
  5. Once you accrue $100 (five completed referrals) or more, you will receive a check. Google only issues checks once a month (for details, see the FAQ).

I already applied, but am uncertain as to how long it will take to be accepted. In 8 days I may also get to be a Google Advertising Professional.

Their stock is well over $200 and I got 50 free Gmail invites if anyone wants one just shoot me an email.

Google karma continues to brew... ;)
Google Karma.

Google Strong 4th Quarter, Yahoo! Japan Blogs, Australian SEM Conference

Google 4th Quarter:

Yahoo! Japan Blogs:
Yahoo Japan has beaten Yahoo to the blogosphere

Down Under:
Australian SEM Conference

DMOZ Post:
NickW finds Black Knight's what is wrong with DMOZ post ;)

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MSN Officially Launches, Comment Spammer Chat

The Search Wars:
MSN makes the official switch announcement and is to spend big.

To appreciate the financial power of MicroSoft you need only look at the various 4th quarter "US Personal Income Soars" news stories which were primarily caused by MicroSoft's $32,000,000,000 dividens.

And while that is a lot of Zeros it certainly is not a Google's worth of them, but Yahoo! apparently is also digging into Google's market share.

The Registrar Wars:
Google is now a registrar

The Blog Comment Wars:

SEO Contest Wars:
Loquine Glupe
I am thinking about running a buy viagra online contest soon. more on that later...

The PPC Wars:

The Oil Wars:
free Exxon Mobile gas

The Echoing Wars:

Lots of Random Stuff...

Searchtextual Ads:
AlmondNet launches an ad network based on search behavior, and apparently they have a patent for it too.

Future of writing:
Steven Berlin Johnson writes about how technology will forever change writing.

Apple replaces Google as brand of the year.

ClickTracks Optimizer:
new mid level analytics software

Digital Identity:
MP3 streams from Future Salon on Digital Identity

new Bloglines competitor

VLIB Update:
A friend of mine is one of the maintainers of the VLIB. I just got off the phone with him and he stated that they are cleaning up the VLIB using technologies such as XML.

Survey Says:
take a Google Survey and read some survey results from another recent survey.

New Wiki Based Search Engine:
loots data from WhoIs database.

Iraq Election:
UN pays bloggers to shill

SBC to buy AT&T.

Man peed way out of avalanche
2,000-ton pile of burning cow manure
hat tip to Frankie from TP on the excrement links.

Google AdWords API Beta

Google have launched their Google AdWords API. From their introduction page:

Google's free AdWords API service lets developers engineer computer programs that interact directly with the AdWords server. With the applications created, advertisers and third parties can more efficiently - and creatively - manage their large AdWords accounts and campaigns.

Flexible and Functional
What can you do with the AdWords API? This all depends on your programming genius and clients' advertising needs. Some possibilities might include:

  • Generating automatic keyword, ad text, URL, and custom reports

  • Integrating AdWords data with databases, such as inventory systems
  • Developing additional tools and applications to help you manage accounts

It works in many language and its quota limits will be based on the size and spend of your account. You need a My Client Center account to sign up. Here is some of their support questions.

coverage at

Automated SEO Tools

I actually do not know tons about SEO automation stuff... have not really tried it. Here are some of the things I have read about

automated content generation:
cloaking (such as the stuff from Fantomaster)
traffic equalizer
rss equalizer
mixes like affiliate merchant feed + rss content+ ppc backfeed

automated link generation:
guestbook bots
blog comment bots
wiki bots
distributed link networks (such as the coop ad network)
think there are lots of things you can do with rss

I am sure there will also be lots of automation talking at the ThreadWatch SEO meeting...

feel free to comment anonymously with a fake email or whatever, but what automated tools on the market do you use and find helpful?

The diminishing value of...

the employee blog
Google says shh to this blogger

condensed and abbridged for your pleasure...

oh lothesome me

bandwidth limit exceeded at the 2005 bloggies site. some host looking for a hosted by link might have just struck gold? you gotta think thats a fairly strong site.

NickW rants

a heated thread at threadwatch

SEO Blogs
we all say the same stuff... ;) Peter D has the scoop


a dollar
actually a shocker, think its near its two month highs...goes off to quickly register many sites (using roboform) while the dollar has a better conversion rate

Review of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is a new book by Malcolm Gladwell which discusses and breaks down the concept of rapid cognition and why it is often better than years of scientific data.
He also reviews when rapid cognition breaks down and how it can be refined. Excitement can cause a temporary state of autism. A lack of time and / or exepreience can also cause us to make quick, irrational, and / or biased decisions. The hardest thing to guage is the intent of another person.

Typically under normal circumstances when given enough time or experience (so as to manage our stress reaction) our immediate gut feelings are often correct.

How this book relates to SEO...

  • Many SEOs analyze large sets of data and can quickly state what changes have occured and what they would expect next due to past experience.

  • Many others are quick to say "prove it to me" and do no testing of their own.
  • The web is a social network. You need to learn to judge the intent of others in your community (that includes the people running search engines for SEOs) - and often you do not get to see the telling signs of a face.
  • Its important for your longterm success for you to learn who you can trust and build social relationships with.
  • If you can afford them conferences are really worth going to. If you can not afford them sometimes you can get free passes from friends or by helping set them up (as a bag stuffer or chair setter or whatever).
  • If you are uncertain who is worth trusting then testing and small steps would likely be useful. If you do not test or test poorly and consistantly state "prove it to me" you are likely to be found repulsive by the people who would have likely been willing to help you most.
  • I think I am more interested in how minds work than how search algorithms work, though if you learn a bunch about one I am sure that can also help you relate better to the other.

Free book for you?
First person to

  • reply to this post -and-

  • send me an email with their address and Blink as the subject wins a free copy of Blink.

Please do not request the free copy of this book unless you are sure you will read it, especially if you live in a country where sending you this book would cost me $60 in postage.

This contest is void where prohibited :)

[update: NickW stated he does not want person wins]

New AdSense Feature, Yahoo! Video Search, Peter Norvig Talks Semantics & Spam

New AdSense Beta Feature:
change to ads about feature allows you to switch the ads to a different topic. example here:

Video Killed the Search Star:
in your mind and in your car. search for Yahoo! videos wherever you are...

wonder what effect that will have on the porn industry?

here is a cool video of Jobs introducing the Mac (looted from ThreadWatch)

Paid By Google:
Ben Goodger, Lead Engineer Mozilla Firefox

Spam: an Issue of Semantics:
Peter Norvig discusses semantic web ontologies