Tag Archives: Google

Prominent UK media blogger locked out of his site

Scamp, a prominent blogger in the ad industry, had his blog suspended after someone complained about a comment someone had added to the site. The blog’s since been opened up, but this raises the issue of  how unclear thousands of semi-professional bloggers may be on the strict terms and conditions of many of the free blog hosting platforms.

Do you know what rights you have as a blogger if someone makes a complaint about its content? Know what would happens to your content if the shutters came down and access was suddenly suspended by a hosting provider? In fact, do bloggers actually own the content on their free blogs? What happens if a complaint is made and isn’t resolved quickly (or at all)?

Should all bloggers now assume that they don’t 100 per cent own their content, as suggested by Scamp?

Microsoft and its ‘cash-back’ search strategy

The pros and cons of Microsoft’s cash back searches are well documented on far better blogs than contentcontent (just).

But this new search strategy could be an example of how Microsoft are trying to convince advertisers that paid search ads (ie Google’s) aren’t the be all and end all of search.

As well as the cash back search, it’s also worth watching Microsoft’s efforts in tracking and ‘engagement mapping’ tools which they’re supposed to be rolling out.

These tools (which MS bought as part of the aQuantive / Avenue A Razorfish purchase) claim to give online retailers a better picture of what ads or web content a user saw before they purchased a product on their site. The value being that not all purchases are made via paid search ads – display ads and other web content could inspire that purchasing decision.

Of course Doubleclick has being doing this kind of thing for years (which Google owns). It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft’s product offer will improve on Doubleclick’s offer.

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Google and publishers’ potential gripes – Part 28

Google’s new ‘search within a search’ feature might hurt publisher’s data gathering / ad budgets says SEO agency altogether digital. This got us thinking about creating contextualised content (and, er, inappropriate alliteration).

As content specialists, we’ve always harped on about the need for content on clients’ websites to be super contextualised, given that the majority of users don’t (want to) see your home page and go straight to the page they’re looking for – cold – without seeing any ‘How this site works’ or ‘About us’ information. Why should it be different for newspaper / publisher websites? Granted, they need to pay for the upkeep of their website more than so than the majority of other website owners, but this ignores the sad, but very real fact – users don’t care about advertising. They put up with it as long as they get the information they’re looking for.

It’s up to publishers to ensure their users are successfully encouraged to browse other areas of the site once they’ve finished the article they originally came for.

And as for Google’s new feature – let’s face it, newspaper sites’ internal search features are generally…unhelpful [expletive omitted – Ed]. Thank you Google.

What is OpenSocial and what now for Facebook, MySpace, Bebo users?

Google, all round good egg that it is, is encouraging all social network sites to allow their users to talk to each other. This is good news for users who are having trouble trying to manage all of multiple social sites they subscribe, each one with their own different group of friends.

The project will allow developers to make services more interoperable – one application of the future might be that users be allowed to view and manage their sites via one console.

Many of the social sites have agreed to get involved – which is surprising, given that each one wants to keep their users in their own advertising laden walled garden. That said, this has happened before – none of the many instant messenger products used to be able to talk to each other. Now many of them can, but only because users demanded it. Think about it – why would you sign up to a telephone service which only lets you to call people on the same network? You sign up to talk to your friends and family. If you can’t, you then go to the service which has the widest coverage or one which connects to other networks.

Let’s hope Google’s corporate mantra ‘don’t be evil’ applies to the search giant’s push for OpenSocial adoption by social networks. After all, if anyone knows how to monetise a web services, it’s Google.

Read a new interview with Google’s Kevin Marks, an engineer on the OpenSocial project.

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SEO – never be surprised by your customers’ search keywords and phrases

A contact at an agency just told me they’ve been invited to pitch. Woo-hoo etc. But what’s interesting is how they got in touch – the client searched for ‘award winning digital agency’.

Today’s takeaway moral? Never, ever, ever, ever underestimate your user or make assumptions. When developing copy for your website (or your client’s), explore EVERY possible keyword and phrase they’re likely to use or be reassured by.

Put simply, make sure your copy includes keywords which resonate with your user. It helps with your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO).

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Ditch your SEO agency: update your content

It’s a mantra we always repeat to clients – content is pretty much key when it comes to improving your search engine rankings. I won’t go into details here (there are stacks of ‘how to’ articles posted elsewhere), but as long as your site has been developed to best practice standards, your key word density is good, your titles and headings are descriptive and you update on a regular basis, your site should rise up the ranks.

I mention this after finding that contentcontent is the top search result on Google for ‘marks and spencers martha lane fox‘. Not the Telegraph, not the Guardian, not even the FT – contentcontent is the top result. Shame it’s one of our weaker posts

Superb example of social media marketing

This is old news to geeks-ville, but it’s incredible, so I’m going to blog it.

There have been some really inspiring social media marketing campaigns of late – but few threaten entire industries (in this case the traditional film distribution model).

I first heard about the Four Eyed Monsters campaign at Channel 4’s Wired & Ready social media event. James Fabricant, Head of Marketing and Content for MySpace UK & Ireland only happened to mentioned it as an aside from insight into its E4’s Skins campaign work with Holler digital.

Once visitors have immersed themselves in the indie film’s plot on the MySpace profile, they’re then encouraged to go to an official site and register their interest in seeing the film by entering the zip code of their local cinema.

Each vote / request is then represented by a small heart on a Google map app. Once a zip code has 100 requests (a large heart), the producers then approach local cinema owners to show the film.

Taking the guesswork out of film distribution, this is a no brainer for cinema owners who are handed guaranteed bums on seats for the film – with zero marketing on their part. The producers are also happy because it means their film is shown outside potentially cliquey indie cinema circles.

A truly remarkable tool for indie film workshops. Though, I do wonder how the big film distributors will react after being cut out as middle man? Will they make life difficult for cinema owners who choose to run these films? Or will they jump on the bandwagon for the release of their own riskier low budget films.
Might be worth keeping an eye on this one.
Take a look at the Four Eyed Monster MySpace profile.
Seeing as we’re on a film theme, I’ve just seen a trailer for a film called Ten. The voice over artist’s realing off of the stars has to be seen. As a colleague said, it shouldn’t be all that funny – but it is. Judge for yourself and watch the Ten trailer.

Google admits privacy policy could be improved

Google has responded to last week’s media frenzy over privacy concerns and admitted the company’s prolonged use of browsing habits data.

The search giant “could do better” when it comes to privacy statements Google’s prviacy lawyer Peter Fleischer told BBC News.

Encouraging news – especially when you consider that the portal has a dedicated lawyer for privacy related issues.

Read more at Brand Republic.

Can fears about Google’s ‘total information’ approach be solved by a clear log in request?

Far be it from Google to court controversy, but it appears that CEO Eric Schmidt has captured the imagine of MSM (mainstream media) with his thoughts on how one of the world’s best known brands will predict our every need and want with products like iGoogle.

Hell, even the Independent got all tabloid with a front page splash on how ‘Google is watching you’.

“The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?'” says Eric.

Despite the implications, I’m still surprised at the widespread reaction to this story. The front cover of the Indy, sure, but second lead story on the cover of the Financial Times? Please.

Has everyone forgotten this very same debate back when MSM first caught on to the story of how ad networks used cookies to personalise browsing experiences?

That said, the advice back then was simple – don’t accept cookies. Although everyone’s a bit hazy on how Google’s new wotsit works, it looks like user sessions will be tracked and recorded to improve a user’s experience – all without the need for cookies.

You know what? I don’t care. In fact, I think it’s a Good Thing.

It matters not a jot to me if Google is furiously scurrying its duck legs under water to make my life easier. If I can spend less time wading through poorly written websites, then bring it on.

This is nothing new, Yahoo has offered a personalised ‘AI’ like service on its music services for years. Log in, play music, rate the tracks as you go along and soon, you’ll have your own video jukebox tailored to your tastes.

But – and it’s a big but – Yahoo makes a point of asking you to log in to optimise the service. Would we have an iGoogle type reaction to the Yahoo service if it suddenly started predicting my music tastes without me asking it to? Call me naive but I want the peace of mind that I’m logging in before my details are recorded and tracked.

There’s a word missing from all the stories I’ve read in the MSM’s stories about iGoogle – transparency. Clearly tell users what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If it’s for the good of the advertiser AND the user then say so. Hell, even go so far as making a big deal of the service on the log in page and explain how it’ll improve my browsing experience. Watch me sign up!

Empower the user to improve their session and they’ll love you for it, even if it does comes at the cost of being served super targeted ads for ipods and Lynx deodorant.

So, well done to Google on the PR assault – just back it up with a dedicated and transparent set of terms and conditions on user’s log in pages.