free html hit counter May 2005 - Page 8 of 10 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Groxis, Yahoo Team Up

By - May 09, 2005

09YahooMarkoff has the scoop: Yahoo platforms Groxis. Posting will be light as I am traveling today. My prior coverage of Groxis here.

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A Trio of Google Items (Plus Another!)

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GooghackedOne: Fred is at it again, sharing his AdSense data. This time I think he did in fact violate AdSense TOS. Not in saying AdSense Image ads suck, but in providing click through rates. Hawk comments here.

Two: Google’s Web Accelerator is turning into something of a PR nightmare. Some coverage:

Google’s Accelerator Breaks Web Apps, Security (ZD)

Google Accelerator: Be Careful Where You Browse (/.)

(also of note, Tristan Louis’s thoughts on how GWA is really a stealth search tool for Google)

Three: Google’s policy on political ads once is again getting tested. This time it’s ads attacking both DeLay and Pelosi. (Mercury News)

And Four: Various reports, including Om’s, that Google was down today at around 3.15 pm, and that someone called “SOGO” hijacked

Clarification on Google and China

By - May 06, 2005

Spoke with a Google spokesperson just now, who clarified the multiple reports, including mine, about Google’s plans in China. Google is opening an office on the mainland, but the office is not an indication of a new operation, she told me. Rather, the company has obtained a license to open a “representative office” – which she described as a place where Google folks can work and hold meetings when they are visiting China. The goal is to spend more time in the country, get to know the local business and political infrastructure, and get smart about options moving forward. As to what those options are, Google had no comment, but did say it was considering a number of them.

The office is in a shared office space set up, the kind of place many businesses lease when they are starting out in a new country (I’ve done it before in London with The Standard). Apparently the local Hong Kong and Chinese press have had a field day with this story, going so far as to interview a woman who runs the leased office space and claim she was an employee of the company. “Google is committed to learning as much as it can about the local market,” the real Google spokesperson told me. But she added that Google has not hired anyone in China. As to reports that Google had retained Victor Koo, she claimed to have no knowledge of that one way or another.

Broadcast Flag Struck Down

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Newsflash from Reuters:

A federal appeals court on Friday vacated a Federal Communications Commission a rule designed to limit people from sending copies of digital television programs over the Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the FCC had “exceeded the scope of its delegated authority” with the 2003 rule.

The FCC has said copyright protections were needed to help speed the adoption of digital television, which offers higher quality signals.

Wayne Rosing, Google Engineering Star, Focusing on Astronomy Now

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Wayne Rosing LgI just learned that Wayne Rosing has left his role as SVP, Engineering at Google, and plans to focus on a passion of his, astronomy. He’s been named senior fellow in mathematical and physical sciences at the University of California, Davis. I’ve pinged Wayne to see if he’d be game to talk with Searchblog. Wayne will remain as an advisor to Google.

Rosing is going to be working on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). From the story:

The LSST is intended to look for light from distant galaxies that has been bent by gravity to detect the mysterious dark matter and dark energy thought to make up most of the universe. When completed, possibly by 2012, it will be able to survey the entire visible sky every three nights, taking exposures every 10 seconds. Its three billion-pixel digital camera will generate 30 terabytes of data per night. Plans for the telescope call for all that data to be immediately available to the public.

I can only imagine how – Google Universe Maps, anyone?

Comment Spam, Registration News

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As many of you no doubt recall, Searchblog is the target of some pretty determined comment spammers. To defeat them, I reluctantly implemented TypeKey, a comment registration system. But I really prefer allowing folks to comment as they wish to, without registration, and when Scot Hacker, my zen webmaster, suggested an alternative, I decided to go for it. (I have noticed a dropoff in comments since implementing TypeKey, and an increase in emails from readers saying “I’d post this as a comment but…..”). Many have very intelligent things to say but wish to remain anonymous, for example, and don’t want to go through the process of creating (and remembering) a fake TypeKey account.

Scot explains what we have implemented:

“Our concern is keeping spam out of my inbox and off this blog. The web host’s requirement is that the server not be strained by comment spam attacks. We’ve enabled Brad Choate’s excellent SpamLookup [], a Swiss Army toolbelt of comment and trackback spam tools. We’ve just enabled SpamLookup’s passphrase option. TypeKey logins are no longer required, but you will have to answer a simple question with each comment submission.”

So, comment away, but you will have to answer a simple question to do so. If you all like this and it seems to be working, we’ll keep it instead of TypeKey. Thanks!

Google Blogoscoped Bigfooted by SEO Inc.

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GblspedOver at Google Blogoscoped, one of my favorite sites on search, blogger Philipp Lenssen reports that he has been threatened by SEO Inc., a SEO company, for posting widely known facts about the company. He does not have the money to pay for his defense, so he has taken down his original post, which noted that SEO Inc. has apparently been blacklisted from Google’s index, at least as it relates to particular terms like “search engine optimization.” (In fact, a search in Google for “SEO Inc.” does not yield the company’s URL in the first set of results, which is certainly odd.)

If Lenssen, who is based in Germany, had the money to fight these bigfoot tactics, he’d certainly win. Instead of fight, he decided to report what has happened, in the hope others will pick up the flag for him. I found his original post, titled “Fall of SEOInc” in Google’s Cache. I have a PDF of it as well, should the cache get rinsed in time. From the piece, which, in case the SEOInc. lawyers are reading, I quote under principles of fair use, newsworthiness, and commentary:

It’s kind of ironic that, a search engine optimization company which for a while was on the Google number 1 spot for the highly competitive query “search engine optimization”, is now nowhere to be found in the Google results. This is likely due to the recent PageRank update and even more algorithm tweaks implemented by Google. Enter “SEOinc” into, and is nowhere in the top 10; and the PageRank has dropped to “none”. Only by entering “” into Google will you see the site is still indexed in some way.

And while a low or non-existent Google ranking is bad enough for sites outside the SEO industry, it hits everyone in the SEO business twice as hard: not only are SEOInc not being found with search engines anymore, they’ve also lost their biggest proof their services are worth paying for.

Of course, the fact this site has seen the Google death penalty hints that they’ve overoptimized using “black hat” search engine optimization (such as linkfarms, for example). In either case, these days it pays out more than ever to optimize your content and to deliver valid, accessible HTML, without spending a second thought on what search engines may like. They’re just too flaky to be trusted.

As far as I can tell, Philipp’s big crime, according to SEO Inc, was telling the truth. It’s no secret that in some significant way, SEO Inc, which claims on its home page that it can “rank more sites in more top positions than anyone in the business,” has been banned from Google. It’s the title of a thread in Webmasterworld, for example.

Philipp has posted a copy of the threatening letter SEO Inc. sent him here. My two cents: The cat is out of the bag, SEO Inc. Bigfoot letters can’t change the truth.

Funny aside from SEO Inc’s own site (at least last time I checked):

“Want proof? Take the Search Engine Optimization Inc challenge. Go

to Google and search for the term “search engine optimization” or

“search engine placement”! You are going to learn the same technology

and techniques that get us ranked!”

Not any more….

Yahoo Hires Cnet Editor

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Mo media, mo content. From the WSJ (sub):

Yahoo hired Patrick Houston, 51 years old, away from Cnet Networks Inc., where he was editor-in-chief of, a site that publishes reviews of computers, cellphones and videogames.

Mr. Houston will lead Yahoo’s initiative to expand its technology content as part of a newly created position, said a spokesman for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company. The expansion could include introducing original Yahoo content on the technology site, he said. Yahoo’s tech site currently aggregates news and product reviews from other sources.