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Thursday, February 27, 2003

He's back. Already. Bearing breaking news and commentary.

Blog-boy just couldn't resist.

Posted by Andrew
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WRONG!

ClickZ contributor gushes about the wonders of skyscraper ads because "larger units are more visible."

Take a cold shower, Tessa.

Posted by Andrew
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Overblown: FAST Poses Weak Threat to Google

Oslo, Norway-based FAST is certainly basking in the spotlight this week thanks to the news that Overture bought its web search division. While many people are debating the merits of Overture's acquisition, I would like to argue that it doesn't matter who Overture buys; FAST still is an irrelevant search engine. Industry insiders have been saying for years that FAST has the potential to be a Google killer. To which I say "fat chance."

Let me explain.

As the webmaster for Traffick.com and several other highly trafficked sites, I review many different server log files and analyze the referring search engines every month. Despite having similar rankings for many prominent keyword phrases, the traffic received from Google vastly outnumbers that of FAST.

For example, in January 2003, Traffick.com had 10,095 referrals from Google. And we received a mighty 46 referrals from FAST. 'Nuff said.

Does anyone out there receive considerable traffic from FAST? If so, let me know!


Posted by Cory
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Blogging FAQ

Friends, family, and random people carrying bags of Chinese take-out on the Spadina 77A bus have been asking: "what in the world is a weblog?"

Problem is, many of the famous blogging people's answers fail to put things in proper perspective for the average sensible person, who suspects that a blog is not much of anything.

Q. Isn't a weblog just about the same as publishing pages on a web site? What's the difference?

A. Personally, I feel that the uniqueness of the blog "form" is exaggerated. One can do very much the same online without necessarily using a piece of blog software or knowing that one is blogging. However, certain conventions have grown up around blogging - and blog software builds in certain features - that makes it very popular and handy as a notebook, diary, news brief tool, or "annotated commentary" on the day's events. Blog software dates and times automatically, allows one to post to the web quicker than most forms of web publishing (though a good content management system would do the same, but who can afford, spend the time on, or understand content management? not most bloggers!), and archives are organized automatically by the software. It's a real time-saver and a communications aid - but also easy to install on one's own web site with a unique domain name, so you get the feeling of ownership that one won't get from things like free Geocities web sites, message boards, and so on.

Q. So it's basically a glorified message board?

A. It's certainly glorified. One of the conventions that has grown up, though, is that the person "blogging" the info has more of a voice. It's not so much moderated discussion as personal publishing that may (or in many cases does not) allow commentary. Less free-for-all, no need to anoint "moderators" - simply, in most cases, a different emphasis. But strictly speaking, is it necessarily that much different from a message board? No, not any more than a sonnet is different from a ditty, or a frisbee is different from a boomerang. You could probably play frisbee with a boomerang or a pizza box if you wanted to.

Q. Are weblogs necessarily incestuous? I see a lot of emphasis is placed on maintaining lists of links to the other weblogs people recommend.

A. Another odd convention. The growth of this trend might have accelerated in part when webloggers cottoned on to the fact that they could confer authority on one another that might help with Google rankings. Chalk up yet one more reason that Google felt the need to bring the technology in house. So it could have a better chance of differentiating between innocuous blogrolling and link farming.

Why don't you shut up now?

I think I will. Thank you for your time.

Posted by Andrew
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Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Blogooogleblogoogleblogooglegoo!

What's a blog? I guess a few million people are asking that right now. (You're soaking in it.)

So, since a search engine just acquired the world's leading blog utility, did you know there is actually a Search Engine Blog?

Of course there is a blog about Google, too. Several, actually. Perhaps we need a metablog. That would be a real time saver.

So many questions! What will the new theme of sudden-household-name Evan Williams' weblog, if he ever blogs again? Can he really get away with saying "I'm too busy to blog anymore?" What will people say when his entries say things like "I'd love to share a little bit about my day, but it's under NDA."

If you are reading this, of course, you probably didn't need to be told about this endless circle of self-congratulatory blogocity.

While I'm at it: John Lawlor, a marketing consultant who has recently been advising businesses on the practical and profitable uses of weblog communications, has launched BlogAnswerMan.com to personally answer questions for the perplexed.

When I get confused, I always try to follow the wise words of Abe Simpson: "the fax machine is just a waffle iron with a phone in it!"

Posted by Andrew
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Gloves are off in the European pay-per-click race

Jonathan Bunis, Espotting Media's COO, comments on Overture's recent announcements to acquire AltaVista and the search division of FAST:

---------------------------------------

"Overture's recent announcements bring it back to its original portal roots as a destination site. They are now in direct competition with their distribution partners. Espotting, already the European market leader, now also becomes the only truly independent pay-per-click player in Europe. This opens up opportunities with new affiliate partnerships. We have already received calls from companies who are fearful about continuing their working relationship with Overture.

"Market reaction to the news has been negative. Overture's shares tumbled yesterday (25/2) closing at $15.44 after the announcement of their agreement to acquire the Web search unit of Fast Search & Transfer. When the company announced the AltaVista takeover, Overture's market value plunged by 32 percent. Further to Overture's announcements, Goldman Sachs on 25/2 lowered Overture's EPS estimate for 2003 to $0.60 from $1.02.

"Espotting celebrates its 3rd birthday on 28th February. We now operate in 10 European countries, delivering targeted leads to over 14,000 advertisers by powering 700million searches a month through our partnerships with site such as Yahoo! Europe, Lycos and Ask Jeeves. Our relationships with FAST and AltaVista are ongoing across Europe. In January, Espotting was voted Best Paid Placement Service in the Search Engine Watch Awards."

Unquote.

Posted by Andrew
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Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Overture Grows Again: Grabs FAST's Internet Business

The non-enterprise side of FAST Search and Transfer has just been snapped up by Overture.

Translated, this means that three major competitors to Google in the business of crawler-based, algorithmic search of a whole web index have been swallowed up by larger companies in the past couple of months. Inktomi became part of Yahoo for approximately $235 million, AltaVista sold to Overture for approximately $140 million, and now, part of FAST joins Overture as well for up to $100 million depending on future incentive payments.

Google's other competitor, Teoma, was also acquired last year, by publicly-traded Ask Jeeves, which is still hanging on profitably but which also seems now more than ever to be an acquisition target.

We have to feel vindicated. In reviewing the search space just over a month ago, Traffick saw limited differentiation and appeal in the offerings of the also-rans, opining that AltaVista was "yesterday's search engine" and that "it would be better for AV to scatter its ashes and make way for a regrowth of something fresh and hot." We gave a lukewarm response to FAST's positioning as "#3, supplying search results to the #4 portal," with the bright side being that "custom work for the enterprise sector is a nice honest living." FAST will continue to do business in the enterprise sector - which, surprise, suprise, was generating 75% of the firm's revenues - after selling off its Internet divisions.

It's tough to sort out who wins and who loses here. Long term, consumers lose different sources of innovation, and must trust in the almighty powers of Google. Metasearchers will have fewer and fewer independent, unpaid indexes to include in their metasearches.

Short term, Overture shareholders suffer, since Overture's acquisitions, intended to keep them even with Google in the race for advertising dollars, will no doubt entail integration headaches and accounting ambiguity (not a good thing in today's market environment).

It's a wash for Google, I think. The demise of their competitors is something that already happened, and this is merely post facto recognition of that reality.

Perhaps the biggest winners are advertisers. Consolidation of some me-too search and paid inclusion offerings under the aegis of Yahoo and Overture will make it easier on advertisers and marketing consultants. They'll deal more and more with the big guys: Overture, Google, and Yahoo

So who are the up-and-comers in the search space? Given the current powerful dynamic, a better question is probably "who are the up-and-comers or lingering threats in the pay-per-click search space?" LookSmart, Search123, Business.com, and FindWhat will all make their share of noise in the coming year - and numerous niche players and some also-rans will try to get noticed in a business increasingly dominated by the big two.

The Big Two - in terms of brokering keyword-targeted online advertiser dollars - are without question Google and Overture. They are two very different companies, but clearly, neither is going away anytime soon.

Posted by Andrew
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Monday, February 24, 2003

Mmmmmm....bursty

Is it just me, or is this guy really smart?

Apparently, his latest research could aid in organizing our email as well as improving search engines.

Dr. Kleinberg, please don't stop!

Posted by Andrew
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View Archived Posts

 

Speaking Engagement

See Andrew Goodman speak at ClickZ Live New York

Need Solid Advice?        

Google AdWords book


Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


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