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Friday, November 21, 2003

Linking Brouhaha New to Times, Old Hat to SEO's, and Chewing Up MarketingWonk Bandwidth

I hate to be Nellie Nitpicker, but come on Lisa Guernsey of the New York Times, could you please spell Sergey Brin correctly in a story about the growth of manipulative interlinking schemes designed to improve Google rankings for small retailers?

Speaking of the whole link farm, link scheme, perfectly legitimate recommending of related content or perfectly-acceptable multi-branding, or whatever you want to call it, and a moo moo here, and a cluck cluck there, here a link, there a link, issue, we're currently having a spiffing debate on this over at I-Search, the resource for professional search engine marketers. Join us!

Posted by Andrew
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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

AOL Has Acquired SingingFish

I enjoy experimenting with multimedia searches at SingingFish, and always enjoyed hearing about their plans to evolve a business model that would make this technology pay for itself. I must admit, I never quite understood the business model... in some ways the critical mass just wasn't there yet. Regardless of the current revenue picture, the future does look bright for multimedia search, so it's probably a very logical purchase for AOL.

Posted by Andrew
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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Gay.com: Cause or Effect?

I first got a full sense for the depth of market demand, and the social momentum behind, the concept of allowing homosexuals to be legally married last Sunday when I found myself on the New York Times marriage announcements page. (This doesn't sound as tough as saying that I caught it on "NFL Countdown," but it's true.) Three of the marriages were gay marriages, all Manhattanites who had traveled to Canada to have the ceremony performed, two in Toronto, one in Ottawa.

Canada's high court only ruled in favor of legalizing gay marriage recently, and a subsequent legislative motion to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman was defeated only narrowly, with many members of the ruling Liberal Party voting in favor.

The momentum continues today south of the border. The vertical portal Gay.com is taking the opportunity today to announce reaching 2.5 million personals profiles on the same day that the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that gays have the right to marry under the state constitution.

Gays and lesbians have no political party, and social movements are getting harder to organize, it seems, especially with some activists in the gay community explicitly arguing against same in the folly of 1990's pomo politics. Enter the 'net. A vertical portal with a huge user base becomes, whether it wants to or not, a cohesive market force and a potentially potent influence in public affairs. We're here, we buy stuff, and we have email, or something to that effect.

Gay.com may be merely reflective of its population, and some might say that issuing press releases on the day of a historic legal decision is mere market opportunism. But one suspects that we'll be seeing more of this in the future: the quiet but firm influence of a large, relatively interconnected vertical portal "user base" in reminding decision-makers of their responsibilities to uphold constitutional principles and to think about the needs of all of their constituents.

It's been a fast start to the news week. Don't be surprised tomorrow if Rush Limbaugh comes out.

Posted by Andrew
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Finally, a Cure for the Mobile E-mail Relay Blues

So, I'm on the road with a laptop for the first time, and I try to send an e-mail from Outlook. Uh-uh, not gonna do it, says Outlook. Hmm, it seems that my outgoing (SMTP) mail server won't let me send e-mail when I'm not in the friendly confines of their network. I guess if you could do that, spammers would wreak even more havoc than they already do. Fair enough.

But, what to do? So, I go searching for a solution to the problem, and I find SMTP.com thanks to a Google AdWords ad. In all of the research I did in organic search results, I never found them. But thanks to the wonders of paid search ads, I got what I needed. Problem solved!

SMTP.com isn't free, but it is worth every single penny of the $49.95 annual fee for e-mail roadies like I have become. Yeah, you could use Yahoo Mail or Hotmail on the road, but if you want to look professional, that wouldn't be too smart.

Posted by Cory
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Monday, November 17, 2003

Gates Scoffs; Onion Bites Man

Microsoft chief Bill Gates makes short work of the rumor that his company approached Google for talks related to "any acquisition thing." Apparently, you can't believe everything you read in the New York Times. Or is it you can't believe everything Bill Gates says? At this point, it's their word against his.

One can't help but enjoy the irony: the ads beneath that USA Today story quoting Gates are served by Google AdWords (anti-spam ads triggered by Gates' mention of a new anti-bulk-mail product being developed by Microsoft). Below and above all that, there's the usual hectoring attempt to sell us on the South Beach Diet. What kind of amazing targeting technology might be behind this one? All I know is that Gates' unflattering photo is runs within the article.

Moving onto a more credible journalistic source, The Onion produces a delicious send-up of a 30-year-old man whose mother discovers his weblog. To invoke technical-type terminology known to bloggers of all ages, "that's some funny shit."

Posted by Andrew
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