04.07 Week 2: Idolatry

This week was insane. I didn't have time to post all the events so upon realizing yesterday just how much what went down, I'm going to do a general sweep:

  • Google gets Yahoo and Microsoft to adopt the sitemaps.xml autodiscovery standard, makes Content Match reporting available and buys DoubleClick, just in time for posting Q1 earnings ...but not before raising eyebrows with a new attack on paid links:
    • While they don't replace those made navigable for visitors, XML sitemaps are good things. No site that I put substantial work into goes without them. They're easy to generate and help site owners interface with (educate) engines as to how sites should be understood. Hopefully now both the Y guys and Micro's management will each also follow up with their own suites of Webmaster tools to further follow the Googfellas' examples.
    • If the Placement Performance Reports make their Content Network less of a black hole, great. Content Match is all about extending reach but it's not nearly as targeted as Search Only. Ultimately advertisers will need to get more control i.e. the ability to get more selective and granular with it. Until then, at least giving more visibility into what it's getting done or not will help marketers get more out of it, and hopefully bring their CTR and conversions up in regard (these tend to be lower on ads served through the channel).
    • GoogleClick overshadows GooTube in terms of immediate impact at least, not just in the price tags comparison. Normally I have my mind more about the acquisitions Google makes that don't make the news more than the ones that do, but this is huge. It further solidifies their hold on the already mature and hot online advertising world. It's largely text-based ads of course but also includes other paid placements like banners of all kinds, etc... Pooling online media greatly helps those competing ultimately with traditional media. Now, DoubleClick isn't necessarily the top tech platform out there, but Google picked them up for the same reason other tech companies have integrated and/or otherwise partnered with them: huge market share. Not just in terms of clients but more importantly in terms of all the data they've collected about what user behavior. Google wants that data. In an earlier post I discussed how Yahoo has been collecting info on user behavior longer than Google has. Now the game has changed. Seriously, take a day or two to see how often DoubleClick plants stuff on your system. Like Google, they're everywhere so this is a cozy match for each party. Critics will say it'll further consolidate power and eliminate choice for advertisers and those working with them. As for the tech end, Google has a way of out-tooling a lot of people when they want to. So even though some might say there are better tools on the market than DoubleClick (e.g. Atlas DMT), perhaps GoogleClick a couple years from now will prove even better. We'll just have to wait and see. Short of their reporting functions I've yet to become a deep DART user personally, and I must admit technologically I didn't see the point when they bought Urchin but that turned out well... I'm still forming my take on this one.
    • Their stock: They've been well into the area where money has become a bit of an abstraction for years now. I'm sure it'll be another interesting earnings call, impressive numbers by-the-numbers, as usual.
    • On paid links: This is a hypocritical witch hunt; I call bullshit. People will buy and sell links and not disclose it because that's business. I'm not going to bother spending much time debating the right vs. wrong of this much when I think it will be unenforceable policy. Asking Web users to report all-out spam is one thing, but trying to breed and train tattlers to this end it a pretty tall order. There is principally no difference between the links trade between marketers - buying and selling advertising - and Google selling Adwords. Sure, Google labels their ads "Sponsored" and that's their prerogative. Consider Yahoo's Paid Inclusion for contrast, which is theirs. Bottom line here is people can and will do with their sites, engines and other online properties what they want. Google already has a pretty robust set of criteria built out for scoring sites' quality as far as I know, but trying to recruit users and get the online marketing industry to buy into this is a bit much... especially when we remember that their dominance is built on their own sold links, not on search theory idealism or altruism.
  • Yahoo buys Rivals.com: I'm no sporto but online sports has a growing audience for sure. Take FIM for instance, with the increasingly popular foxsports.com... It'll be interesting to see how many people, Yahoo and otherwise, take that angle more from here on.
  • Hitwise Releases Search Market Share Updates: Always great to get new info. Just remember Comscore and Nielsen numbers count too (average them even though they all tell generally the same story).
  • JupiterResearch Reveals SEM Executive Survey Findings: That search's ROI rules (especially on the organic side) has been long known, and the offline integration bit is a critical can of worms everyone's been trying to tackle for a while... Uploading external data sources into web analytics tools to be neatly aligned with online KPIs, just like trying to glean deep info out of CRM apps, like a lot of things can be a simple concept that's hard to execute on... Dammit, I forgot to ask Omniture at the Summit, wassup with that integration they once upon a time said they were planning to do with SalesForce.
  • SES NYC: I'm looking forward to hearing how this went. Jon attended, I didn't. In the meantime all I know for sure is
    • They're seemingly putting more attention on SEO nowadays. I recall attendees asking for that back in '05, so good.
    • I'm starting to suspect the SES parties here on the left coast aren't as wild as some of the others on the tour. Obviously we gotta represent out here, so perhaps the search gods will somehow make sure that when SES hits Cali again, someone attending will see to it that there will somehow be at least some conference rent-a-sluts and cocaine or something... Oh wait, I forgot. As a consultant I'm already a rent-a-slut, meself. 😉
  • Egghead's book finally released: I've been waiting for this for a while and it's been delayed a while. Jaimie knows his stuff so even if I don't always work PHP projects, I look forward to this read... and especially after Amazon recently canceled my initial pre-order per its delayed publication.
  • Content Solution free to try for a few weeks: Tremble before Trimble; HalfAgain turns up the sales heat. I know a few people who use this and have scoped the demos, but haven't tried it. It surely leans more on the BH side now that it features scraping, Markov and synonyms usage. Essentially as I recall, this product was a souped up content keywords randomizer system made to trick out sites to look like their pages are changing often, i.e. on each refresh/reload. Technically it's not hard to code that in manually of course, but making a scalable system for it is more work and this is that. As I make it my business to understand all SEO methods I might create something to experiment with it on since it's free for a bit, even if I don't have production uses for it. Personally whether via WH or other methods I've always felt there's more value in publishing new content than there is in tweaking content over and over again. Here, the tweaking is automated and can eventually be recognized as a footprint I should think.

    Come in, Mother Ship: Every page on this site seems to be changed every time I hit it, even the ones I'm crawling 50+ times daily. - Scout

  • Web 2.0 Expo next week: I'm gonna need to pass I believe, per being on the road some. I look forward to hearing how it goes, though.
  • PRA2 temporarily closes: Like a day after I canceled my subscription of my own volition, and a day before it would've normally renewed (Alas, I could've getting one last bit of content; making a Christian dating site would've been an interesting experiment). It'll be interesting to see what this is like when it comes back. There are a ton of crap ghost-written content providers out there, but to my knowledge Paul and team are among the better ones when it comes to identifying green fields to write about.

Mandatory Cheers to:

  • Graywolf and many other blogger/developers for WordPress SEO plug-ins and/or respective guidance.
  • Search Marketing Standard, to which I've recently subscribed. The material is well written and rounded and quite accessible.
  • Readers of this blog so far. There haven't been many but who has been by are the kind I do want, plus in an over-saturated Web I'm thankful for anyone who opts to spend a little of their time here.
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Based out of Northern California, bl.asphemo.us is a bl.og dedicated to the advocacy and study of high-impact, data driven marketing disciplines and related concerns: Analytics and Data Mining, Marketing Automation, Integrated Advertising (targeting, retargeting), Demand Generation and Lead Nurturing, Social Media / Social Engineering (Crowd-hacking) and the new PR, Privacy, Security, CRM, SEO / SEM, CRO, ROI... more TLAs (three letter acronyms) than any sane person's daily lexicon should include.

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