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In the Microsoft headq. says that its Live Search cashback program, launched in May to attract more users has done well in three key areas.

Its cashback program has had a positive return on investment for advertisers (ROI), percentage of search queries for commercial purposes, and the number of advertising offers on the system.

"We are pleased to report a 30 percent increase in the number of product offers available in Microsoft Live Search cashback, indicative of the strong advertiser interest in the program and early results on its ROI," said Brad Goldberg, general manager of Microsoft Live Search.

Microsoft Live Search Cashback Paying Off

"We have seen an average of 4.5 million unique users per month visiting cashback who have conducted more than 68 million commercial queries."

Microsoft says that 20 of the top 50 online retailers in the U.S. and 140 of Internet Retailer's Top 500 are now participating in the program, including new advertisers AT&T, Drugstore.com, FTD, Gap, Kmart, RedEnvelope and Saks Fifth Avenue.

eBay says the Microsoft Live Search cashback program has improved its ROI on paid search by 50 percent and the company says it is planning on increasing its search marketing spend with Microsoft by threefold.

According to comScore, in the second quarter of 2008, Microsoft Live Search referred almost 12 percent of total U.S. commercial online transactions and about 13 percent of total U.S. online spending in key retail categories.

While all this is good news for Microsoft it still lags way behind Google in terms of search share. Also it's not certain if its cashback program is a good long-term strategy.

Still Microsoft thinks it's working well for now. "We believe this early traction speaks to the differentiated and unique value proposition of Microsoft Live Search cashback for both consumers and advertisers, especially in these tough economic times," said Goldberg.

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Global Financial Crisis in Microsoft,they will be halting construction of new buildings around its Redmond headquarters. According to SeattlePI.com, an internal powerpoint presentation outlines plans. Joseph Tartakoff reports:

But the presentation shows that in December, Microsoft's Real Estate and Facilities Team developed a scenario to estimate the company's real estate needs under the assumption that the company's work force would not grow for the next 2 1/2 years. Beyond then, the planners expected annual growth of 3 percent.

Last year, Microsoft increased the size of its work force by 16 percent. The company employs more than 94,000 people worldwide, including 40,000 in the Puget Sound region.

Microsoft Halts Construction

Doesn't sound very promising for the next two and a half years does it? Microsoft is expected to announce these changes when it reports second quarter earnings Thursday.

There had been rumors that Microsoft would be laying off workers by January 15th, but nothing has come of that so far. Yahoo on the other hand is cutting 20% of its French staff.

Yahoo's getting rid of 52 out of 251 people from its French headquarters according to Paid Content. This looks to consist mostly of engineers. "This is bittersweet as it was only in September that Yahoo made a song and dance about opening an R&D facility in the latter, an Alps town, at a lavish ceremony involving French government ministers," writes Paid Content's Robert Andrews.

Content Match

The company is also reportedly getting rid of Content Match in some parts of Europe.

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One crowd tells Obama what they want to hear

It’s too early to lock down the potential (or failures) of crowd-sourcing. Where Wikipedia, the 4th most visited resource on the Internet, logs incredible, meteoric success, and where the politicization inherent to mob rule has dragged down the populist ideals of Digg.com and others, the collaborative spirit continues to be tested and modified.

In America, as on the Internet.


The latest crowd-wisdom experiment produced an inaugural address representing the collective desires and ideals of the (Slate.com reading) populace, and the result is: it's not bad. That’s a tepid review, but not a damning one, only because the result is exceedingly progressive (not that there's anything wrong with that), progressive a word used in diplomatic lieu of the often pejorative “liberal” or “leftist.”

While reformed neocons might tolerate, even forgive rhetoric regarding environmental concerns, interrogation, and affordable health care, they still may balk at fundamental philosophies allowing the people to “change and adapt our covenants.” A covenant, a solemn promise, a strict Constitutional constructionist might argue, is never changeable and is not supposed to be.

Regardless, Slate’s collaborative inauguration speech is heavy with a sense of unity and the free market of ideas, and even, in certain places, it carries that moving rising rhythmic cadence the great speeches of history carry.

The speech resulted from two readers known simply as Honu and Nick utilizing MixedInk, an online platform allowing collaborative creations of op-eds, letters, petitions, mission statements, articles, speeches, et cetera. Honu and Nick didn’t stand alone. They could pull from 450 participants, who created 384 speeches in total, and could borrow from inauguration speeches from the previous 43 presidents. Honu and Nick’s speech was voted the best of the bunch.

The speech appropriately builds on Obama’s historic “Yes we can” mantra:

Future generations of Americans will look back at this moment of crisis and opportunity and they will judge us—but not by our words. They will measure us—but not by the promises we make. For language has the power to move us to action, but it is never a substitute for it.

Our children's children will ask only this: What did they do back then? Did they rise to the challenges providence had set before them? Did they unite as one people, with a common destiny? Did they set aside the old partisan rancor in order to protect our great nation, to strengthen democracy and human rights at home and abroad and to safeguard the blessings of the natural world for all time? Did they live up to the great promise cradled in that name: America? What will these future generations say?

They will say, "Yes, they did."

And such is the beauty of a more digitized democracy, the na├»ve, idyllic devotion to collaborative unity and “common destiny,” played out more efficiently and with sudden simplicity. It carries with it the pitfalls democracy always carried, blemishes on an ideal most are content to tolerate: runaway mobs, the hard, stubborn thumb of a supposed moral majority, covenant cornerstones balanced precariously on the sands of the current Zeitgeist.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way, would we?

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Can you sell it online? There are probably ads in a query for it.

The Big Google is now showing text ads in image searches regularly. This is not the first time people have noticed such ads, but it is probably so for this frequency.

"Since 2005, we have reported signs of Google placing ads on their image search service," notes Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable. "In May 2008, Google said they would run ads on image search and then signs of text ads on image search back in December. But it has really not stuck and people saw the ads on and off."

It looks like they're full on now though. You can perform any number of searches and get ads. Granted, you will not get them on every single query, but most keywords that somebody could sell will probably return them.

For example, a search for “cars” or “t shirts” will return them:

Cars Image Search on Google with Ads

T shirts Seach on Google Image Search with Ads

I'm sure there are exceptions, but it seems to be basically if you can sell it online, there will be ads.Now is the question,what other keywords are good to focus...What you think?

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Do you want to set up your own blogging network on the fly and automatically share the ad revenue among the contributors? That’s the premise behind Fair Blogs, a new service from Fair Software. The idea is simple: you organize a blogging network or a virtual company through Fair Software, where each contributor enters their own Google AdSense ID and Fair Software then rotates ads from each members’ account accordng to their ownership share of the blog or blog network.Pretty cool huh?

Fair Software CEO Alain Raynaud explains:

If you have a blog with Google AdSense making some money, you can open a project on FairSoftware and hire people. Let’s say you hire one contributor and give him 30% of the project shares.

On your blog, you replace the Google AdSense javascript by a script we provide. Then, every time someone visits your blog, we serve an ad from one of the members of the project, following the share ownership. So in my example, 30% of the time the ad will belong to the new hire. Then Google just pays each person directly.

This is the same model Fair Software has for software projects (minus the Google AdSense part). It launched at TechCrunch 50 with a way to create virtual shares for companies building software, but the model can be applied to other businesses as well. Fair Software offers a quick and dirty way to pull together teams and allocate a portion of revenues based on each person’s contribution.

Fair Blog is a good idea, but limited in its capabilities. At the very least, I’d want to be able to tie the revenue split from AdSense to each blogger’s performance as measured by Google Analytics. So that the percentage each person gets could be based on pageviews and automatically adjust every payout period.

The other thing Fair Blogs needs is to incorporate more ad networks. AdSense is usually the bottom of the barrel in terms of how much it contributes versus other types of blog ad inventory. But it does have the advantage that everybody uses it. Raynaud plans on adding Amazon affiliate accounts next, and then will move on from there.

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Good Video Content Will Give You a Competitive Edge

Online video is consuming the web as we know it whether you like it or not. Some prefer text content over video in most cases, and that's ok too. I don't think text is going anywhere, but demand for video is on the rise from both consumers, and businesses looking to stay on top of their marketing. Just like not all text is great, not all video is great, but when done well, I think you will find that it offers plenty of reward.

Content and Reputation

Bad videos are a turn off for viewers. They must have value. Otherwise they'll be viewed as a waste of time. If viewers see your videos as a waste of time, this is generally going to equate to wasted time on your part as well, and chances are that you put a whole lot more time into your videos than any viewer will. But even worse, if your videos are perceived as a waste of time by viewers, it's going to reflect negatively on your brand, or at the very least upon your ability to offer useful and informative content.

Remember, while the rise in online video popularity is certainly evident, many people would just as soon obtain the information they're looking for with text. In fact, this is a good reason to offer truly unique content with your videos. Developing a reputation for having solid unique content with them will give people a reason to watch them. The best videos provide a user experience that simply can't be duplicated in text.
Robert Scoble cited a good example in a recent post. "Text is easier to consume. Easier to search. All that stuff. But here, let’s try something. You take 1,000 words to explain to me what the next game from EA looks like. I’ll do it in a minute or two of video. The video will beat your blog every time," he declares.

Length is often a factor. As a rule, people generally do not want to watch lengthy videos unless they are either entertaining or truly useful to them. From a business standpoint, I believe you are going to have greater success with making the content as useful as possible in as little amount of time as possible.

Grant CrowellVideo Usability

Grantastic Designs Founder Grant Crowell writing for ReelSEO has a great article/podcast on web video usability. He discusses the need for video providers to have some kind of usability standards. In his article, Crowell talks about some factors that should be taken into consideration when providing video content:

- Location
- Features
- Testing

By location, he means, where it is being viewed. Is it being viewed on a website or in a stand-alone player? Is it on your own site or is it being viewed in an embedded player on someone else’s? Do you even offer the ability to embed your videos?

Apart from embedding availability, features of the video include things like the player itself, the navigation of that player, accessibility, search, image and audio quality, length, content, speed (buffering), conversions, and completion. Videos should also be tested. This means: lab testing, user testing, and analytics.

Engagement and Google

In Crowell's article, he also talks about the engagement factor of videos. Being how user-engagement is of growing importance (and will likely continue to be as SERPs evolve), I wanted to hear some more of his thoughts on this, so I contacted him and we had a little chat. Following is what came of that:

Chris Crum: You refer to engagement as an active state, and I agree, but what kind of actions do you expect videos to inspire? Comments? Conversions?

Grant Crowell: The actions ultimately depend on the business model of the video owner. But the potential with video is far greater at engagement and conversions than with static content. The first step is getting attention. After that it can serve as a direct response or lead, or buzz (going viral), or branding.

Even within the video, you can have several calls-to-action, all clickable and with additional actionable items from them. (See our latest video
interview at ReelSEO on Mixpo, for more on this.

"Conversions" can be both mini and macro, depending again on what are the business objectives of the video owner. A comment could likely be a mini-conversion. A hundred comments and 3rd party link popularity and buzz, well that could be a macro-conversion.


CC: SEO Bruce Clay recently speculated that as SERPs evolve, videos might make a difference in ranking. For example if two competing businesses have content of basically equal value, but only one of them has video, the one with video might be favored. How important do you think it's going to be for businesses to offer some kind of video content on their sites?

GC: Video itself can be given an almost "unfair advantage" in the SERPs. We've demonstrated that at ReelSEO with how we're able to have our own image icons show up from our videos for search results -- directly from our ReelSEO.com site (not YouTube). I've even done a case study to show how [in] a video series I did on YouTube, the targeted keywords had my image icons show up higher that the entire local and regional media stories.

Google Video Icon

I believe the search engines, especially Google, consider video to have higher engagement potential than static content. Even when the external link popularity may not be great, just putting up new regular videos can show up right away, and at the top, of search results. I've seen it happen many times before

This is something that can be heavily abused however, it’s a weak spot with the search engines for determining quality standards of relevancy around video.

It is extremely important for businesses to offer video content on their own sites, both for search visibility and usability purposes. (Search visibility I would consider to be a part of usability, too.)

Not just on their own site, but [also] popular and relevant video sharing sites. There are websites starting to come out that are behaving a little more like video hubs for the SMB crowd.
ragantv.com is one such example for the B2B audience. For the B2C audience, eHow and howcast.com are good examples.

Howcast

But the issue of usability is a tricky one since there are no real standards yet for both content and delivery.


I want to thank Grant for taking the time to talk to me about this (emphasis added), and I think he had some very interesting things to say that should encourage those looking to break into online video or expand their efforts. Grant’s company Grantastic Designs has been in the search marketing game for a long time, and he is clearly well-versed in the ways of search.

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Social media resumes are important for attracting hiring managers directly to you, without you having to submit your resume, blindly, to them. The problem with submitting your resume online to job postings is that most job postings aren’t even vacant, might not exist, and 80% of jobs offers are received through networking.

With a social media resume, you’re able to paint a completely different portrait of yourself for hiring managers and customize it to reflect your personal brand. With the inclusion of various multimedia elements, sharing options, integrated social networking feeds and the same elements you’d find in a traditional resume, you are better equipped for success.

Social media has allowed us to reverse the recruiting process. Instead of submitting our resume, it becomes a billboard that can be shared, distributed to hiring managers, searched and more. In one sense it showcases your talents and what you’re looking for in a job and in the other, recruiters become attracted to it and will approach you with the opportunities that you desire.

Here is the social media resume process:


1. Start with a website


Depending on who you are, how much time you have, how you deal with criticism and your technological competency, you’ll either want to start a website or a blog. With both, there are free and easy to use services out there, as well as services that cost money and require experience.

Options for websites

bravenet

Free: Bravenet.com is a free solution with many different tools, such as a polling feature and guest book to help you get started. They’ve been around since I started building web pages in middle school.

Paid: I recommend you use Bluehost or Godaddy to host and build your website. You can also use Microsoft Expression Web, which is an easy to use website building software program, much like using Microsoft Word to build your website.

Options for blogs

wordpress

Free: I recommend Wordpress.com or Google Blogger. Both are easy to use and don’t require much web knowledge. I would touch up your skills in HMTL before even getting involved with a blog. There are various sites such as W3 Schools that can serve as tutorials for you.

Paid: I recommend loading Wordpress.org into Bluehost. I just went through this process and Godaddy can’t comply, but Bluehost is easy to work with and understands how to install Wordpress blogs onto their hosts. Another option is using Typepad.com, which costs money and is great for the beginner blogger.


2. Your URL is key


Depending on your strategy, your URL is going to be extremely important. Of course I would recommend that you purchase your domain name, yourname.com. If that isn’t available, try for yournameRESUME.com or the .net or .org equivalents, in that order.

The objective of the URL is to have something you can freely promote and that people can remember.

- Use the URL on your paper resume.
- Use the URL on all of your social networks.
- Use the URL on your business cards and any other marketing materials.

You can get free domain names when you sign up for Bluehost, Godaddy and others. They typically come in a package with the hosting space.


3. Decide on the format and design


colorwheelDepending on what job you’re looking for, you’ll want to change the blog/website format accordingly. I think it makes a lot of sense to take your paper resume and break it apart into its different sections. Once you do this, you can have separate tabs and pages for each, so it’s easy to crawl, navigate and makes a lot of sense to the recruiter.

Remember that recruiters are looking for specific things on your website that would appear on a resume anyways. Below, I’ve included various sections that you can use when constructing your website or blog frame:

Press/media, contact, career highlights, distinctions, bio, blog, case studies, about, skills, experience, credentials, intro, consulting, vision, endorsements, resume, newsletters, news & events, volunteer projects, strengths, social networks, interact, demo real, art portfolio, sample projects, personal information, professional information, wiki, speaking events, awards, profile, photos, videos, associations, clubs, technical competencies.

Depending on how you want to brand yourself, you’ll want to design your blog accordingly. Using a color wheel to choose colors that match is very important, especially if you aren’t a graphic designer or artist. Remember to use a consistent font, headings and colors, while keeping your frame/format intact.


4. Enhance your resume with multimedia


multimediaTraditional resumes can’t include multimedia because they are on paper. Multimedia makes your website/blog much more interesting and interactive. It allows you to emotionally connect with recruiters and all other observers. It also puts a resume to a face and is another great method for people to consume your content.

- A video or MP3 of you answering basic interview questions.
- Video of a talk or seminar you recently conducted.
- Photos of you meeting industry celebrities or business people.
- Audio testimonials from previous clients and coworkers.
- A podcast you’ve started.

Out of everything, I think a basic introduction to the brand called you is the most valuable for the observer. I would give a thirty second pitch for why someone should hire you. Depending on the company you’re targeting, you’ll want to dress formally or informally. Don’t act like you’re reading from a card and try to have a natural sounding voice. You can upload your video or audio to sharing sites, such as Vimeo or YouTube and then embed them on your website or blog. This typically works the best because then the video can have movement, going from one hiring manager to the next.


5. Integrate your social network profiles


Before you think of even linking to any of your social networks in your webpage or blog, please consider how the profiles would appear to recruiters. For instance, if you want to highlight your Facebook profile, ensure that it doesn’t have profanity or explicit pictures on it first. You should review your wall postings, picture, profile information and more to see if it would be appropriate for hiring managers.

If your Facebook profile passes your examination, then feel free to build a profile badge that you can embed on your website.

Other social networks you may want to crosslink with:

LinkedIn: Your professional profile on this social network is extremely important because it takes into account everything a recruiter would desire from an applicant: cover letter, references list and resume. You can use a LinkedIn badge on your website or blog as well.

Twitter: Your Twitter stream can be a huge asset to you on your social media resume because it’s easy to update and recruiters can get a better feeling about who you are from reading it. There are Twitter badges you can include on your site as well.

YouTube: Storing your videos on YouTube makes a lot of sense because it’s easy to embed on your site, organize your videos into playlists and you can even have your own YouTube channel widget.

This is important if you want potential clients and employers to get a feel of what your personality and work ethic is like. The most important thing is to use social networks that people are most familiar with, such as the ones above and to keep them all fresh and updated. They HAVE TO best represent your personal brand to be included on your social media resume.


6. Make your resume shareable


shareYou won’t find many recruiters that are going to share your resume. They will choose not to if you’re the candidate they want because it would attract too many other recruiters, thus giving you more bargaining power and options. They see no value in sharing your resume whatsoever, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t showcase your proficiency with technology with sharing features. Also, your resume will be seen by more than just recruiters and if it is shared on social networks, the chances that you’ll have more job opportunities increases. Visibility creates opportunities.

Instead of worrying about how to embed Delicious, Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon, try and use sharing utilities that combine all of them and much more. The top three are Share This, Add to Any and Add This. Embed these onto your social media resume in one of the top corners.

For examples of social media resumes, please see mine, Chris Penn’s, Bryan Person’s, Katharine Hansen’s and Rohit Bhargava’s. Good luck with your social media resume. If you do it right, you’ll never have to apply for another job again!

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Virtual Sex is Now Reality

In the long and storied history of teledildonics, science has always tried to recreate the inside of a woman’s wee-wee and poop parts with accuracy, tact, and lubrication. Well, friends, all those years of effort have paid off with the RealTouch, a honking big device that recreates every nuance of the human anatomy, albeit in a way that makes it look like you’re violating Mr. Peanut.

How does it work? While you watch a video on your PC, the device reacts to the on-screen action. Dual rubber bands run up and down inside the case while a handy reservoir releases lube. The action corresponds with motion cues sent over U.S.B. from your computer ensuring that you staring at your computer with a log on your lap isn’t creepy at all.

I think the funniest thing is the size of this thing. Look at the video on the RealTouch website (VERY NSFW) when you have a chance. This think looks bigger than my old VW Beetle.

Best of all? This was made by a former NASA engineer. If he were still on staff, I’m sure we’d all be on Mars by now. Expect a review shortly. It costs $149 and is available now.

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Mark Zuckerberg might - just maybe - want to start considering how far in advance big entertainment acts need to be booked. Because, according to new comScore stats, it looks like his social network could be celebrating an important victory over MySpace in about twelve months.

FaceBook have 54.5 million monthly unique visitors, says Comscore, compared to nearly 76 million for MySpace. But
Facebook’s growth rate in the U.S. averaged 3.8% per month over the last twelve months. MySpace’s U.S. growth rate is 0.8% per month. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, but unless things change a lot, Facebook will overtake MySpace to become the largest social network in the U.S. in…2010.

At current growth rates Facebook will overtake MySpace in January 2010, a year from now. That is the month Facebook will reach 86 million U.S. users, compared to MySpace’s 84 million in January. Will this prediction be correct? Probably not, but it’s the best guess given today’s data.

It may actually take longer. Facebook’s growth rate had been increasing as the year wore on but dipped in December. As they get closer to MySpace it may become ever harder to catch up.


In Earlier post Meebo have problems with Facebook.

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Team at Microsoft adCenter took the holiday break to put some "finishing touches" on some enhancements to the service. These enhancements include:

- Custom Date Ranges, and
- Custom filters

The custom date ranges

This allow you to customize your campaign performance grids for easy viewing of performance data for campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords for custom time periods that you specify, without having to run reports.

"Date ranges for up to 31 consecutive days within the last two years can be utilized, or you can use the existing adCenter preset date ranges if they work for you," explains Mel at the adCenter blog.

5 1 custom date range (2)
Custom filters

This allow you to find important info by applying column filters to campaign performance grids. This lets you ignore under-performing keywords and concentrate on ones that do better. "You can use this functionality to display keywords with high spend but low click-through rate so you can spend time optimizing them, and pretty much manipulate the data to your own ends," says Mel. "In addition to applying filters to the data values, you can also set as many as three custom filters on certain columns."

5 1 column filters

On another Microsoft adCenter-related note, Kris Clegg shared some tips for content ad campaigns in another post, which include:

1. Separate content campaigns from search campaigns
2. Find the right keywords
3. Make your starting bids competitive
4. Keep ad copy fresh and enticing, and
5. Do not "set it and forget it".

Of course, Clegg elaborates heavily on each of these tips. The post is worth checking out for those of you running these campaigns with adCenter.

Personally i never use adCenter but i'm thinking that this will never be good as Aswords..IMHO,what you say?

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Less than a month ago, Meebo announced that it would begin including both MySpace and Facebook into its instant messaging and group chat services. These two networks joined AIM, Yahoo, Google, MSN, and others in Meebo's repertoire.

Meebo

However, Facebook has now requested that Meebo remove its network for the time being, and Meebo has complied. Seth at the Meebo blog writes:

We have been speaking to the Facebook team, and it turns out, they’d like us to connect to their network in a different way - a way that works with their log-in security protocols. In the interim, they asked us take Facebook off Meebo, and we agree with them.

However, we were glad to hear that the Facebook team was genuinely excited to see their network on Meebo, especially since they already have plans to open Facebook Chat. They also committed resources from their Chat and Facebook Connect teams to do extra work with us to get Facebook Chat back on Meebo “really, really soon.”


In December, Meebo's users grew to about 45 million, presumably as a result of adding MySpace and Facebook connectivity. Seth did not share how many of those are from Facebook, but I would imagine Meebo is eagerly awaiting getting the fast-growing social network back on board.Is Facebook affraid to share pie with meebo? or its just a "copyright" issue? We will see...what you say??

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Some suggestions and responses from people include:

Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts


- cloaking

- a paid link reporting firefox plugin

- spam punishment through decreasing PR

- improving local spam

- more info regarding penalties

- eliminating content "pretenders"

- more focus on duplicate sites

- fewer sites requiring logins early in SERPs

- if it’s banned in search, ban it in Adwords and leave room for quality advertisers.

- scraper sites

- block spammers from ALL Google services

- Search Queries - Websites that take you to a search results page or something similar

- paid text links are still very successful after Google has made such a point against them

- There should be a SERP check for MFA sites which have some > zero content

- Google should pay more attention to DMOZ and Google Directory

- product review spam is out of control

- provide a Spam Detection API

- devalue ALL links for sites like, myspace, facebook, etc.

- less top positionswith A LOT of keyword stuffing

- have someone from the spam team LOOK at spam reports from the Google webmaster console and evaluate the site in the report taking MANUAL action

- Team up with Akismet and use their data for who’s spamming who.

- More focus on REAL spam like hacked backlinks, comment spammers, forum spammers etc

- less apparent value allocated to keyword rich domain names

- Shutting down all the splogs on Blogger!

There are plenty more where that came from and they are being added continuously. It is good that Google is giving its users places for feedback. They seem genuinely interested in letting everyone have a voice and potentially listening to that voice (or at least considering it). If you have something in mind that you would like Google's webspam team to tackle this year, drop by Matt's post and let him know.

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Google Blogger.com has add a feature to the new post editor in Blogger in Draft. Blogger in Draft is a special version of Blogger where they try out new features before they release them to everyone. Kind of like Google Labs. With geotagging, you can add a location to your each of your blog posts, like with time stamps.

Blogger Geotagging

"When you use Blogger in draft, you'll see an option below the post editor to 'add location'," explains Elaine Filadelfo of Google's Lat Long Blog Team. "If you know the exact location, you can simply enter the address, city, or zip code; if you're blogging about the view from the top of a mountain you just hiked or don't have a precise location, you can browse the map or turn on satellite mode and put a marker at the right spot (and the reverse geocoder will label the location for you). The geotag will appear below your published post as a link, which will open up Google Maps. The location will also be included in your blog's RSS and Atom feeds using GeoRSS."

There are some known issues with geotagging that Brian at the Blogger in Draft blog was kind enough to address:

- The location editor is hidden behind the text field in the Edit HTML tab. Please switch to the Compose tab to view and edit locations.

- A geotag cannot be removed from a post once it has been saved. If you need to remove a geotag, please copy your post content into a new post and delete the geotagged post.

- If you have a customized template and you don't see the "Location:" byline, you may need to reset your blog's widget template. Do this by going to the Layout > Edit HTML tab in your dashboard, and then clicking Revert widget templates to default below the main text field.

- Some users are having issues with the blog post map gadget. Brian is investigating.


To learn more about the geotagging feature, I suggest reading Brian's full post. If you are interested in finding out more about Blogger in Draft itself, this page should sum it up for you.

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A dictionary attack is one that generates passwords from ordinary English words. According to “GMZ,” whom Wired credits with the hack, Crystal’s password was “happiness.” Oh, oh, the irony.

GMZ’s hack led to the 33 compromised celebrity accounts sending out bizarre tweets from Britney Spears, Fox News, and CNN”s Rick Sanchez and others.

Though Crystal’s account says, at least it does now, that she is with Twitter support, GMZ claims he picked her account at random because her name kept popping up on so many other accounts, and that he was unaware she was a Twitter staffer when he began. He realized it only after becoming aware of the ability to reset any Twitter user’s password.

Here’s an interesting decision making process to chew on: After realizing he’d unexpectedly hacked a Twitter staffer and that he’d forgotten to cloak his IP address and was therefore traceable, GMZ deferred to fellow hackers populating the Digital Gangster forum so they could hack the accounts instead.

In most places this is known as “aiding and abetting.” Bygones. It was through this hack outsourcing that Fox announced Bill O’Reilly was gay and that Britney spoke of her 4-foot vagina dentata problem.

GMZ also claimed credit for hacking Miley Cyrus’s YouTube account and posting information about her (fabricated) death.

On the company blog Twitter founder Biz Stone said they were taking this pretty seriously. The company also said they’d be securing their network better in the future.

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Google is obviously a very well known brand, and it is safe to say it didn't get that way from blogging. It is probably also safe to say that most of the people who read Google's blogs are already somewhat familiar with the company. They didn't provide the model for making money online with blogs.

But...


Looking at how Google uses blogs does make for some excellent examples of how a business can use blogs to bolster their online presence and engage their customers.

The Branches

Google has individual blogs for many of the company's properties. For example, there is one for AdWords, one for AdSense, one for Google Mobile, one for Google Chrome, one for Google Analytics, one for Gmail, one for YouTube, and so on and so forth.

Of course, not all businesses have the number of properties that Google does, but for businesses offering a number of products or services, this is a strategy worth considering.

Updating and Informing

Now, having all of these blogs is pointless if they are not updated, and Google for the most part keeps these updated fairly regularly. You're not going to see a new post every single day on every single blog of Google's, but they are generally kept up with.

Because of this (at least partially), people know they can go to Google's blogs to find the latest news on product updates. They are reliable sources for company info.

Interesting


Google products are interesting to people right from the get go, just because they come from Google, and this is a company that has a large impact on the daily lives of many, many, people. So it is true they have that going for them.

Still, Google blogs generally find ways make posts interesting beyond just that. One way that I often see them do this on a variety of blogs is to highlight the usefulness of the product being talked about.

They offer tips. They provide examples of scenarios where certain aspects of their products would be of general use to the user. They often provide videos and images showing just what they're talking about.

The Go-To Place

While Google has so many blogs for their different products, they also have one central blog, the Official Google Blog, which ordinarily provides the biggest announcements the company has to make. Posts here are often cross posted with Google's other niche blogs, but if you want to know generally the biggest things that Google is up to, you can go there.

Google also has a directory of all its blogs, so users can easily find any of them from one location.

Google Blog Directory

Ways to Keep Users Updated

Google offers more than one way for readers to stay updated with new blog posts across its entire network of blogs. There are RSS feeds, a standard feature for blogs, but on Google blogs, there is normally a prominent link to subscribe to the feed.

Google also has a Blogs Gadget that you can add to your iGoogle homepage. This is another way to bring new posts right to you.

What I'm Getting At

The point of this article is not to talk to go on about how great Google is. It's to point out some of the things they're doing that make their blogs worth reading. This is a problem many businesses continue to face. People just don't care about reading their blogs. So perhaps it would pay to step back and look at a business whose blogs people really do want to read.

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One of the reasons Google gets so much press coverage is, frankly, that its representatives are so good about discussing corporate developments. And now things have been taken an informative/slightly ridiculous step further with a blog post summing up Google's blogging habits this year.

Google Logo

Perhaps Susan Straccia, member of the Google Blog Team and author of the Official Google Blog post, is a fan of movies like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Synecdoche, New York. There certainly seems to be a "meta" element here.

Anyway, Straccia wrote, "This is our 368th post of the year on the main Google blog, which is 23% more than in 2007. In addition to more posts, we are thrilled to know that we have many more readers now - 78% more, to be exact. The number of unique visitors jumped from 6,738,830 last year to more than 12 million (12,000,723) in 2008."

She later continued, "[N]othing caused as much excitement as our earlier-than-planned unveiling of Google Chrome. This post alone had 1,735,093 unique visitors and generated 12% of our total-year pageviews on the blog! . . . . And the Google blog network keeps on growing: 44 new blogs launched this year, for a total of 127 active company blogs."

Is your mind boggled yet? Ah, well. For better or for worse, we can probably expect to see another introspective post and some even bigger numbers next 2009 year.

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A week or so ago, some people noticed some updates to Google Toolbar PageRank scores. It was unconfirmed however if this was an official update. Matt Cutts eventually confirmed on Twitter that it was indeed a Google update.

Matt Cutts Tweet
Cutts later said on his blog, "In case you didn’t see where I confirmed it on Twitter, Google recently did a toolbar PageRank update. It’s pretty much done now. If you want more info, I’ve answered questions about PageRank and the Google Toolbar in the past."

People's sites are going both up and down, but it is important to remember that the toolbar is "not an accurate indicator of how Google ranks or values a site," as Loren Baker notes at Search Engine Journal. Though it is still a factor.

Cutts also makes the bold prediction that this will be the last PageRank update of the year,i think that the next update will be on march 30 :)
This blog page rank remains the same PR 3..

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