It seems that the growing consensus at places like Webmaster World much resembles the "Traffic Without Trying" approach advocated within these pages oh so long ago.
So why does everyone still rush the stage when Matt Cutts speaks?
Friday, March 04, 2005
Greg Linden makes the excellent point that in Google's newly-beefed up local search offering, restaurant reviews are listed if available from extant sources. This seems to be an example of "fair play," whereby Google happily sends traffic off to other places without trying to monetize every click. It adds to the credibility of Google Local as a clearinghouse for available information rather than being solely a paid directory. (It is worth noting that on the example I clicked on, a Frommer's review of Susur Lee's restaurant in Toronto, the site is an AdSense publisher, so Google isn't hurting for monetization even when it sends users away.)
Players like Yahoo and CitySearch also offer restaurant reviews. With these, users can directly add reviews.
Both approaches seem sensible, but Google's approach seems to lean more towards traditional editorial sources, whereas the others are untrained (but very genuine) impressions from real diners. I don't know exactly which approach works for me. I tend to find that some direct posts are quite misleading. Either way, the added context is going to make the local search experience richer and more usable than ever, because it will mean less "hunting around."
Just another great example of how metasearch can and will evolve to delight users.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Great conference, as usual. From hearing Danny interview Jerry Yang, to learning new things from the panelists on the Compelling Ads and Landing Pages session, to Mike Grehan's VIP dinner, to chuckling at The Gates, which are supposed to be down but aren't yet, to getting my picture taken with William Hung at the Ask Jeeves party.
Right now, though, it's about the radio in the next room. The Lionel Ritchie was bad enough when it started three hours ago. But now... Dan Hill? Dan freakin' Hill.
Nothing for it but to put in a little more work on a presentation (presenting tomorrow, once again on contextual ads) and hope it stops soon.
If you're into search and didn't make it to New York, come to SES Toronto, May 4-5. It's guaranteed to be informative and fun. No special appearances by Dan Hill, I promise.
Do pop-ups work? This one got my attention:
"Stop paying 99 cents per song."
I know Napster is old news (and reinvented) but now that everyone's got an iPod, this is an amazingly effective ad. I'm one of those dumb people who has actually paid 99 cents for a song. :)
And without any segue, happy birthday, Yahoo. Where do I start? What more can be said? The amazing thing is, you're ONLY ten years old. Overture and Google are ONLY seven. Google AdWords, PPC version -- only three. GMail -- just a baby.
The next ten should be fun!
Sunday, February 27, 2005
It's one thing for Microsoft to do it in typical Microsoft fashion, but it's another thing entirely for Google to do it, Google-style. I'm talking, of course, about Google's AutoLink feature, introduced recently in the beta version 3.0 of the Google Toolbar.
Several leading bloggers are fanning the flames this time against Google, one of the rare instances where pundits have actually protested something the big G has done. The free ride for the golden boys with the the lava lamps couldn't last forever, I guess.
Now, I hate to think that I love everything that Google does so much that I'm incapable of rendering an impartial judgement with Page and Brin, but... I have to say that this "controversy" over AutoLink is much ado about nuttin', IMHO.
Think about it. We're talking about an optional, minor feature of an optional toolbar that actually gives you a choice of which mapping service to use! How is this a feature that jeopardizes anything anyone could put on a web page? Anyone who uses this feature has to seek it out and know how to turn it on. If it benefits users, and if Google doesn't play monkey business with it, what's the harm?
This could be something that actually moves innovation forward, and I'd like to give Google a chance to see what they can do with it. I think Google, unlike Microsoft, has honestly earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Who knows, maybe one day they'll open it up and allow third-party developers to tap into this capability. Would that make AutoLink more palatable? If not, then what would?