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Monday, March 27, 2006

Ahhhhh - Go Google yourself!

Have you ever put your own name into Google to see what comes up? When most people put their name in Google they are lucky to not have anything pop up unless they are in an online business of some kind. The types of things that most people get might be governmental reports if they have ever gone through any bureaucratic red tape. These types of returns are only as bad as the red tape they were involved in.

For some people the results of Googling their own name could be a picture of some drunken indiscretion at a party. Every once in a while I like to type in the names of people from out of my past to see if what kind of results their names turn up. Rarely do I find any pictures but when I do, they are usually pretty good and potentially profitable but I won’t go into that here.

When I Google my own name I am pretty lucky for the most part as most of the results returned are for articles I have written, sites I am credited for and various other things that I have developed over the year son the Internet. Sometimes, however, my name gets used a keyword that leads to a site that is of a questionable nature. Nothing I can do about that so I don’t even worry about those unless I have to.

The only time I would be concerned about what my name turns up in a Google search is when a prospective contract or employer finds something he/she doesn’t like. Naturally, I can explain everything I have done online over the years and can back it up with copies of the work I have done so for me, I don’t really worry to much. For others though this could present a more significant problem, especially when looking for that new job.

So go ahead – Google yourself to see what comes up before someone else Googles you that could bring you down. Forewarned is forearmed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tagging or Social Bookmarking

Is social book marking going to gain in popularity to rival organic searches? I doubt it.

For those of you who don’t know about Tagging or Social Bookmarking I will try to explain the concept. Basically what happens is people go to a site like that allows them to write a little tag line about the pages that they bookmark and it saves their bookmarks for them. When enough people bookmark the same sites these bookmarked sites rise to the top of the membership search site.

OK, perhaps that was too simple an explanation. If you want to read up on the concept in more detail, click on this Wikipedia link to go to their explanation on the subject.

Assuming that you now have a better understanding on the subject I offer my thinking on why I feel that tagging wont replace organic searches. The results would be too easy to manipulate. What is stopping some company from paying a host of underpaid employees to go to sites like and bookmarking their targeted sites? Nothing - that’s what!

I have been hearing rumors that since Yahoo acquired; Yahoo may be going down that road for their search technologies. While it may be true that Yahoo has lost focus on the search market I can not believe that they would be trying to get back into the search market by replacing their directory services with tagging or social bookmarking. I mean after all - it is better to remain a solid #2 than that other solid number that gets usually gets flushed down with the toilet water.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Google Products & Waiting Lists

Well Google rolled out yet another free product that you can’t sign up for. What is it with this company and their free services offers that you have to join a waiting list to sign up for? I mean they have to know that given the level of exposure that their service receives that they are going to have overwhelming responses immediately. Is it just me or does these tactics seem a little lame?

I never bothered with Gmail or Picasa seeing as I already had these types of services by other vendors. Yes, I use Blogger but I can’t recall how long ago I got it. I got the Site Map system without too much hassle and the Google Analytics set up on 3 sites prior to them shutting that one down due to overwhelming volume.

The latest service they have is called Writely. Writely is a browser based word processor that offers the ability to share documents instantly & collaborate in real-time. Seems like a good idea and worth checking out but hey guess what… you can’t because the system is overwhelmed again and won’t allow for any new sign ups.

You would have thought that the good and smart people at Google would have known ahead of time that this was going to happen – again and prepared for this eventuality. So once again I have asked to be notified when the service will be taking sign ups again so I can try this new novel idea out.

Hold it a second… come to think of it this new service kind of reminds me of an old Net Meeting feature called Whiteboard that has been integrated with Program Sharing. I suppose I won’t know for sure until Writely moves to a server that can handle the volume of users that Google brings or is it because Google is trying to figure out a way to stuff the program with Google ads?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Google in Court Today

Today is the day that Google goes to court to defend itself from the intrusion of the American government. The US Department of Justice had requested that the search engines provide information regarding search patterns and the like, in an effort to weed out pornography that children could access. As I understand it Yahoo and MSN, among some other search engines, had complied but not Google. Understandably, Google is interested in keeping their search technology secret as the release of the requested information could expose their trade secrets to the competition.

I am of mixed feelings on this one as Google has a right to secure the information that separates them from their competitors but, if the release of these search patterns is going to make the Internet a better, safer place for children to explore; then let them have the info.

I suppose that if the US government really wanted to access Google’s information for any other reason than the one that they stated, couldn’t the US government just have said they were looking for search pattern information in an effort to root out terrorists? Wouldn’t that then become a matter of Home Land Security with no recourse for Google other than compliance?

I for one will be watching and waiting for the outcome. If you are interested in this case you can learn more at Matt Cutts Blog.

Friday, March 10, 2006

MSN and Search

Well MSN is up to it again – trying to re-invent the wheel so to speak.

Soon after the launch of their search engine, or soon after taking it out of Beta testing, MSN has released a new search product that is in Beta testing. This search product is called Windows Live Search and can be found at

If you drop the search part of that URL and go straight to the site look s like MSN is trying to break into the Web Portal business. Should Yahoo be nervous? I doubt it.

Any way, back to Windows Live Search report. From my perspective this new product looks pretty good although I have heard tell that it isn’t FireFox friendly. That’s OK by me because neither am I!

I like the fact that you can just keep scrolling through the results as opposed to clicking to the next page. Another interesting thing is the slider bar at the top right of the search page that allows one to select the layout of the search results.

Naturally, seeing as this is a Beta version of the product it doesn’t quite work 100% of the time but that can be forgiven. I tried the image search function but it always seemed to hang and being an Internet kind of person, I lost patience and soon moved on.

I can’t say whether or not this is going to become the new trend in search engine layouts but at this time I say I have to like it. I give it 3 out 5 crawls

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Is Firefox Exploiting Volunteers?

It seems that the web browser FireFox is making millions of dollars off of the Google search box in their browser. Personally I am not against a company making money from paid searches but when that company’s product is developed from a host of volunteer work, I have to question that companies ethics.

An article by Antone Gonsalves goes into more detail on how Mozilla is earning these millions. I wonder if all of these volunteers would be so giving of themselves and their time if they knew that their efforts were generating huge amounts of revenue for Mozilla.

Does Mozzila offer them any form of compensation? Does Mozilla make any contributions to charitable organizations? Does Mozilla spend any of that money in an effort to standardize web browser technology? I sincerely doubt it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

SEO and Exclusivity

One of the things about clients I have never understood is their desire to enter into exclusive SEO contracts. While I understand the need to out perform the competition with regards to search engine rankings, what I don’t understand is how being exclusive is going to get a site to list in more than 2 positions in any given SERP (search engine ranking page).

Let me explain – If a search engine offers 10 results per page for any search query, the best any site can ever hope to achieve is 2 listings out of the10. If said site gets the two positions on a page in the search engine that still leaves 8 spots that you will not be able to rank for with the same site.

Now let’s say for arguments sake that you are working for a company that has multiple sites that offer the same products and or services, you could attain positions for that search phrase for each of those sites but then those sites would only be competing with the company’s own sites thus lowering the ROI for each of those sites. Sure you may be capturing the SERP for that search query (I have done this for a client in the past, 6 different sites capturing 6 out of 10 page one results) but is it really worth the extra cost for exclusivity to out perform your own sites?

In my opinion it is far better to spend the extra money you would have spent on exclusivity into making your site better for the people who use your site.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Yahoo Site Explorer

Yes, I know - it has been a long time since I last made an entry into my blog, I have been really busy as of late.

Have you tried the new Site Explorer tool from Yahoo? If you haven’t you should check it out. Not only does this handy little tool tell you how many pages Yahoo has indexed but it also lets you check on the links to your site.

Did I say your site? You know you can also use this handy little item to keep track on the competition too!

Speaking of competition, it seems that MSN Search is going to be releasing something similar as well in the not too distant future. I’ll keep you posted.