free html hit counter November 2004 - Page 7 of 7 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Site Update, Six Apart News

By - November 09, 2004

six-logoFolks (and particularly Firefox folks) please bear with me as we update the site. We’re moving to MT 3.0 and there will be some glitches.

As long as I’m talking about MT, parent company Six Apart announced a deal with Kanoodle today. Over at Boing Boing we’ve been working with Kanoodle for a while, and as much as I’d love to say the service works perfectly, there are still major issues, mainly on the contextual side. (The folks there have been great to work with.) Boing Boing is a very hard-to-categorize site, and so far, it’s been very difficult to match the Kanoodle ads to the BB content. I am sure, however, that easier-to-categorize sites will welcome this new service. Release in extended entry….excerpt:

Kanoodle, a leading provider of sponsored listings for search results and content pages and Six Apart, the maker of award-winning Movable Type and TypePad weblog software, today announced that the companies will offer TypePad subscribers the ability to easily add Kanoodle’s content-targeted sponsored links to their sites.  This marks the first time that webloggers will have seamless access to revenue-generating sponsored links as part of their publishing toolset.  The companies expect the product to be live by the first quarter of next year. 

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Another Hurricane A-Comin'?

By - November 08, 2004

fla hurrFunny that I was in Florida last week, because the webmaster boards are lighting up with speculation that Google is about to do another major update to its index. When this happens, the rankings of many keywords and websites shift dramatically, with major implications for the business models of thousands of small sites.

The last major update, dubbed Florida, was just about a year ago, and it killed a lot of affiliate spam. But it also took out a lot of innocent bystanders. Site owners and the SEO community are battening down their hatches, as the holidays are usually the times when Google hurricanes hit. Why? That’s when the pressure to make money on the web is most intense (many online retailers make 80% of their profits in the fourth quarter). That means the attempts to game Google also intensify. Should be fun to watch…but I wouldn’t want to be a small online retailer right about now…

Search Engines and Disclosing Advertising

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Gary points us to a new report (PDF download) issued by the folks at Consumer Union that reviews the disclosure policies of major search engines.

Key findings:
• Paid inclusion was not satisfactorily disclosed or explained by any of the search engines tested. The credibility of this practice is of such concern to the industry itself that, after Consumer Reports WebWatch testing had been completed, two of the top five search engines announced plans to terminate paid inclusion programs.
• Meta-engines, which present results from several search engines simultaneously, repeatedly failed to adequately disclose the presence of paid placement and paid inclusion within search results.
• Disclosures are generally hard to find, accessible by headings and hyperlinks that often blend in with the page, making them easy for consumers to overlook. • Information disclosed by the sites on business practices with advertisers — and how these practices may affect search results — was often confusing and jargonladen.
• Some engines, like Google – one of the few majors not named in the original FTC complaint – took pains to visually segregate paid results from non-paid results. Consumers may want to avoid others, like 1st Blaze, because of inadequate or absent disclosures that undermine the integrity of search results.

Fathom: Keyword Prices Keep Going Up

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According to a release I rec’vd from Fathom Online today, keyword prices are still rising at a healthy clip.

Fathom Online, a leading search engine marketer, released its October monthly Keyword Price Index™ showing an overall 14% increase in the price of keywords from the September average of $1.37 per keyword to $1.55 for October.

Search advertisers in some sectors of the market found that the start of Q4 was definitely more costly than September. For instance, in the consumer services category, which includes entertainment, spas, and other related goods and services, prices increased on average 78% from $.54 to $.96 per keyword. Retailers faced increases on average of 52% from $.32 to $.48. Other advertisers fared better, particularly in the automotive industry where prices dropped 10% from $1.43 5o $1.39 and in telecom/broadband where the average fell 5% from $1.89 to $1.78.

Apple Talks Search

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appleSlashdot has details on Apple’s integrated search function, noting that metadata will play a starring role. Apple’s new search technology, which will incorporate desktop search, is called Spotlight. More detail here. Spotlight is expected to be integrated into Apple’s next OS release, Tiger, due in Spring. From what I can glean from the thread, it seems Apple’s search tool will be well received. As a Mac guy, all I can say is hurry up!

Google Image Search: Updated Only Twice a Year?

By - November 07, 2004

abuFlorida was great, thanks to all who asked, but it’s nice to be back in the Fall weather of Northern California. We start up the Searchblogging again with this interesting post from Slashdot regarding the troubling Abu Ghraib images:

Try searching Google Images for abu ghraib, lynndie england, or Lynndie’s boyfriend charles graner and note how you don’t get any pictures of US soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners of war. Now try it with some of their competitors, like AltaVista, Lycos, or Yahoo!. Google used to be able to find them, as is discussed in this AnandTech forum thread.”

Turns out, though, that all this really was, according to Sergey Brin, was an embarrassing shortfall in Google’s indexing process – essentially, he copped to Google only updating its image search every six months, given that the images hit back in early summer.

I don’t quite understand how things that were once there (according to those on the thread mentioned above) fell out, but…here’s what Sergey posted:

In short, There is no censorship here. We are embarassed that our image index is not updated as frequently as it should be. Expect a refresh in the near future.

In the meantime, you can just search on Google Web Search for [abu graib photos] [abu graib photos] [google.com] to get plenty of what you are looking for.