November 19, 2007

SearchToFight.org - American Cancer Society's Search Engine

By Li Evans

American_cancer_society_search_to_f The American Cancer Society launched a search engine called Search To Fight that enables users of the search engine to help the fight against cancer.  While the site is new, the technology and setup are something search marketers have seen before.  The site's search engine results are powered by Yahoo!.

So what's so different?  Well, one thing is that this is a major non-profit organization realizing the power of search can help fund research and awareness campaigns.  The other thing, is that a significant portion of the profits from those clicks on the paid ads are going right back to the American Cancer Society.

“Using SearchToFight.org is a new, easy way for anyone to fight cancer doing what they already do every day: search the Internet,” said Corey Shelton, the Society’s lead manager for e-Revenue interactive  commerce and innovation. “Now, anyone who searches the Web also can raise money to help people in their communities who have been affected by cancer. Searching the Internet is something most of us do everyday. Why not do some good while doing it?”

When I first looked at the site, I knew immediately the "technology" behind it, I guess being a search marketer does have its advantages.  However, I realized, the "normal" internet user likely doesn't have any idea about these type of "search engine sites."  For people wanting to help out the ACS, I really don't think that it matters, what is more important is that it helps out this great organization.  However, I did find myself curious at to Yahoo!'s involvement with the Cancer Society in developing the site.

Corey Shelton was kind enough to answer my questions when I asked how involved Yahoo! was with this project, he replied, "we worked with Yahoo! to put the deal together and launch the relationship. Yahoo! gave us access to their system in order to build SearchToFight internally." 

Mr. Shelton also added that "Yahoo! [is] currently not actively promoting SearchToFight. However, ACS and Yahoo! have collaborated for many years to provide health content to consumers.  For instance, the section ACS News Today is featured on Yahoo! Health," when I asked him about Yahoo!'s involvement to promote the relationship.

Search_for_a_cure That news about Yahoo!'s very limited involvement disappointed me a little. This could be a great "win/win" for both parties if Yahoo! would only put a little more behind promoting its relationship with the ACS - it is a worthy cause! 

Regardless of that here's a challenge for the SMG audience, why not for once a week till the end of 2007 use SearchToFight.org? Using it benefits a great cause and we as a Search Community can contribute in our daily day to day activities!

October 02, 2007

Yahoo! Blended Search: Playing Competitions' Videos in Search Results

By Li Evans

Yahoo!'s launched a new way of delivering its results to searchers.  It is quite subtle in its styling, the Yahoo! logo is now all the way over on the right.  There's a bit of a difference in font and color changes.  It is actually pretty pleasing to the eye.

I have to say, all of the changes from Yahoo!, Live and Ask, make it a "nice" viewing experience.  Comparing them to Google's results, Google looks "old" and "harsh".  Perhaps it's just my own personal preferences, compared to Yahoo!, Google seems to just now "SHOUT THEIR ADS" at you, where with Yahoo!, Live and Ask's new changes, the focus really does seem to come back to the results, not the ads.

Loren Baker & Eric Lander of Search Engine Journal have some great articles about Yahoo!'s new launch and they also take a look at how to optimize for the new Yahoo! interface.

These days, everything that is new & launched in the search engine space, keeps being dubbed as a "Google Killer".  We had Wikiasari Hysteria, Mahalo Insaneness and now the other three search engines are launching new interfaces, algorithms, and integrations.  I'll reserve my opinions on Yahoo!'s new launch truly being a Google Killer, as I really think the term "Google Killer" needs to be retired as much as the phrases "You're Fired!" and "That's Hawt".

It's great to see Yahoo! actually putting both feet into this.  For the past 4-5 months, it's been like watching a receiver perpetually catching the football in the end zone with one foot in and the other foot dragging on the white line or over it.  Yahoo has had videos and photos  for popular artists, but nothing really integrated from Flickr or their own video services into its search results until now.  Now, finally the receiver's dragging foot has hit the green turf rather than that white line and is making touchdown scores.

Not only is Yahoo! including video listings from its own Yahoo! Video Service within its search results, it's including YouTube and Metacafe videos.  Not that that's anything to write home about, but what is to take particular note to, is the fact that YouTube & Metacafe videos will play within the Yahoo! results.  If you compare that to Google's results, Google only plays Google Videos and YouTube Videos in its results and "doesn't play nice with others", so to speak. 



(youtube videos showing & playing in Yahoo Results)


(youtube videos playing in Yahoo Results)


(youtube videos showing & playing in Yahoo Results)


(metacafe videos showing & playing in Yahoo Results)


(metacafe videos showing in Google Results but not playing)

The fact that Yahoo! is incorporating its competitions videos and they can play in the results shows that Yahoo! truly is concerned about delivering the most relevant results to the searcher.  Taking a look at it that way, it makes it look like Google's only interested in giving the "best results" when their properties are "the best".  If anything will be the "Google Killer", this ability to integrate everyone's "stuff" into the search results, could be it.

Now that all four search engines are on board the Universal-Blended-3d search train, search marketing has now truly entered a new level of marketing.  The days of just 10 blue links are now absolutely in the past.

July 30, 2007

Microsoft & Digg Deal Spur Acquisition Rumors

By Li Evans

Digg Everyone's heard about Digg & MSN partnering for advertising syndication.  Over the past few days there's been a bunch of rumors running wild about an impending acquisition of Digg by Microsoft, Pete Cashmore over at Mashable thinks its bunk.  I tend to agree with him on that thought, and his thought on it creating a riot.

How ironic would it be, if Microsoft did buy Digg?  Isn't Microsoft the Evil of all Evils over at that social news site?  9 out of 10 Microsoft stories immediately get buried, unless its bad news for MS or a story about Ballmer throwing chairs.  What kind of sweet justice it would it be for marketers, should this happen?

I find this speculation interesting, as the possibility is definitely there.  Microsoft is not short on cash, and Digg did just dump Google for a 3 year deal with Microsoft's advertising network. There's definitely a little basis to the rumors and speculation going around this past week.

I especially like Evan Roberts, of MarketingShift, take on the speculation of a Digg acqusition of Microsoft:

"If MSN were to acquire Digg.com it would introduce a whole new plethora of users to Digg.com, pump much needed life into all the dead Digg sections, and continue bringing down servers worldwide (although being MSNugg doesn't have the same ring to it). I'd also assume that there would be a mini-revolt from all the Apple fanboys and Kevin Rose loving Digg purists who want the site to remain 'homegrown' but in the end we'd all win."

Really makes one stop and ponder those possibilities, doesn't it?

July 17, 2007

Google & Yahoo Loose Ground, Microsoft Search Gains Ground & Ask Remains Steady

By Li Evans

Both comScore and Compete have released their June numbers, and to many people's surprise Microsoft actually gained some ground in June.  Of all the search engines, Microsoft was the only one to see any gain, both Yahoo! and Google saw a drop in their market share while Ask stayed steady in both measurements.

Comscorejune    Competejune

Compete does give you a little better picture when it reports the numbers in that they give you the previous month plus they also show you the previous year's data.  comScore only give you a comparison to the previous month.  Without the third piece pf data, you might think the Microsoft might be ready to "break free" and start going on a run, however looking at Compete's data, sure it grew over last month in market share, but it's not above it's last year's June numbers.

One thing I've learned in this business is that you can present numbers like these in any way, especially with only 2 data points.  The more data points you have to present, the more sound or more speculative your conclusions become.  It would probably behoove companies like comScore and Compete to show a 3 month (1 rolling quarter) view with the previous year's data, but we'll just have keep waiting on that (i.e. don't hold your breath).

I think the most surprising thing of the data being reported isn't that Microsoft gained ground, it's that ASK remained steady in spite of Microsoft gaining.  Google and Yahoo! lost, so now one ponders about those commercials Ask is doing, could they be having some affect on their market share?

See the other discussions about the data at Techmeme.

July 09, 2007

Google Aquiring Postini

By Li Evans

Postinilogo Google released a press release this morning announcing that it is acquiring the "leader in on-demand communications security and compliance solutions", Postini based in San Carlos California. 

Postini describes themselves as:

"..the global leader in on-demand solutions that deliver on the promise of Communication Security and Compliance. With Postini, your company is protected against increasingly malicious internet-based attacks. Your compliance is ensured for government, industry, and internal mandates; and you can re-establish increased productivity for your users."

Google's reasoning for acquiring the company seems to lean towards more security for Google Apps, since they've received a "tremendous" response with "over 1,000 small businesses signing up for the service every day."

The Google blog even has a welcome post for the Postini team.  The Enterprise Team at Google also has a bit more of an explanation on their blog too.  And if that weren't enough, there's even an FAQ pdf document that provides even more detail.

Congrats Postini!

June 21, 2007

Google The Electric Company & Car Company?

By Li Evans

Googlealteredprius A few months ago, Google made headlines with the installation of their 1.6 megawatt solar power system, on Monday they added another side to their "Green" efforts.  Google's Philanthropic arm, Google.org, invested $1 million into developing a "vehicle-to-grid" system which allows hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, to be plugged into grid for charging, or for selling back electricity.

Google claims that the already eco-friendly Prius which gets well over 40 mpg without the "vehicle-to-grid" alterations, will get up to 70 mpg once the alternations are done.  Not only will the higher gas mileage be a draw to the conservationist side of society, but the ability to sell back the stored electricity (quite possibly up to $3,000 a year) to Pacific Gas & Electric Company will appeal to those on the "Froogle" (hey, I could resist!) side.

Google calls this project RechargeIT and states  the following about its goals for the vehicle fleet its created:

"Recharge a Car: Google.org is working with A123 Systems and Hymotion to convert our growing fleet of hybrid cars into plug-in hybrids and to collect performance data to demonstrate their efficiency."

And just to wrap this all up - Google's even produced a video to demonstrate both how the cars works and its benefits.  It really can make one sit and wonder about what would happen if a lot more companies took the initiatives Google has.

June 13, 2007

eBay vs. Google: Google Protests, eBay Pulls U.S. Adwords

By Li Evans

Ebay A collective sigh of relief can be heard from a lot of online marketers right now.  eBay's pulled all of their U.S. ads on the Adwords network.  According to Computer World and other industry blogs,  eBay spokesman Hani Durzy characterized the decision to pull the U.S. Google ads as "an instance in a continued experiment eBay does to determine the best allocation of its advertising and marketing budget."

eBay's rather notorious for there ads on every imaginable keyword out there.  At one point you could even buy "Danny Sullivan" on eBay.  That was at least, according to their paid advertising if your searched for information on Danny.  One of the most annoying things for almost all online marketers is dealing with EBay and its very broad marketing campaigns, tonight at least for a little while, perhaps campaigns might see some relief with not having to compete with eBay.

With saying that, you might be wondering why eBay's "really" pulled there ads. 

Continue reading "eBay vs. Google: Google Protests, eBay Pulls U.S. Adwords" »

June 12, 2007

Yahoo Shareholders Speak Out

By Li Evans

Terry_semmel__tom_cruise Today was the day Terry Semmel and the board of directors of Yahoo! faced the music, or stepped into the ring for their "title fight".  Yahoo! shareholders voted today and they sent a message, loud and clear that they are not exactly happy with the way that things are being run at the search engine giant.

According to the Wall Street Journal, only 66% of the shareholders approved the slate of candidates.  This is in contrast to last year's 97% approval.  A withholding rate of 20% is considered high, and sends a message, but 34% is probably screaming volumes right now.

The New York Times has more on the meeting, stating:

"...shareholders voted down proposals to tie executive pay to competitive performance and challenge the company's human rights policies in China at their annual meeting on Tuesday.

Company-sponsored proposals received solid majorities, including plans to expand the share count for use in employee stock option plans, according to voting overseer Josh McGinn, of the independent transfer agent ComputerShare Trust Co.
"

Industry insiders were speculating about how the shareholders would react to this past year's performance.  I think it's safe to say, they are not happy at all with the current performance and are sending a message loud and clear, Terry Semmel's got to turn things around this year.

June 11, 2007

Is Google Losing It's Shine?

By Li Evans

Star_2 Google, the darling of the tech stocks.  Google, the leader in search.  Google, the company that snaps up startups before MSN and Yahoo! can blink.  Google the shining star, or is it still?

I've been reading a lot of articles lately that just seem to have a lot of negativity towards Google.  Perhaps it's a little like "celebrity syndrome", that we love to see people and companies rise to the top.  However, as a society, what we love even more is when they crumble and "cry for mom".  I'm not quite ready to compare Google to Paris Hilton nor to the more loathed Bill Gates, but I wonder about this occurring trend.

Continue reading "Is Google Losing It's Shine?" »

May 24, 2007

Google's Recipes - Finding New Recipes Made Easy

By Li Evans

Googlerecipes Google's cooking up something rather cool with their Universal Search integration.  I use cooking up in duality because Google's displaying something new when it displays results for recipe searches.  Hattip to Dave Brown who first picked this up on Sunday.

Being someone who loves to cook and likes to find new things to try, I decided to do a little further digging.  I wanted to know what triggered the recipe search pull downs, what other features there were and where Google pulled the information from.  I found a lot of different features and it's really neat if you love to find new recipes to try out.

Continue reading "Google's Recipes - Finding New Recipes Made Easy" »

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