All About Content

Search Engine Strategies, New York

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, February 27, 2006 at 11:19 pm

I’m at SES this week, as are many search professionals. You can catch good coverage of the sessions on the Search Engine Watch blog, as well as some of the major sites, so I won’t duplicate any efforts here.

But I did pay particular attention to the ClickZ track about consumer generated media (CGM) and how bloggers exert their influence on brands. It’s inspired me to consider blogging about the truly subpar service my colleague and I have been getting at the Sheraton thus far. Maybe write a couple of paragraphs about Sheraton’s terrible customer service, write a to-the-point headline, wrap it in H1 tags, and see if the post starts to rank on searches for Sheraton complaints… it would be an interesting experiment. Would that be bad? It’s not like I’m just making it up; there have been multiple screw-ups and the response by the staff has been incredibly unfriendly and unhelpful. (Except Claudia. She was very nice. Thank you, Claudia)

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Category: Navel-Gazing

Everyone’s Writing, But Who’s Reading Blogs?

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, February 25, 2006 at 11:11 am

David Utter of WebProWorld reports on a survey conducted by Gallup: blog readership is flat or declining.

A scant 9 percent of users read blogs frequently, with 11 percent reading them occasionally. Out of the 13 activities Gallup measured in its poll, reading blogs finished dead last.

And Slate columnist Daniel Gross, contrary to the rah-rah tone of Dave Sifry’s report on the blogosphere, wonders whether blog popularity among the business sector has hit its peak. In his February 12 article, titled Twilight of the Blogs, he writes that “[t]here are troubling signs — akin to the 1999 warnings about the Internet bubble — that suggest blogs have just hit their top.”

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Just like the Internet didn’t disappear after the bubble popped, blogging isn’t going anywhere. Too much attention, too quickly always leads to a big let down. Once the hype is over, things will come back into perspective and the best blogs will continue to provide value and exert influence.

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Category: Blogging,Data

Ruling: Image Search Violates Copyright

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, February 23, 2006 at 10:55 pm

A federal court has ruled that Google’s image search violates the copyrights of Perfect 10 Inc. by displaying thumbnails of images from the publisher’s website in the search results.

The argument that showing thumbnails in search results constitutes copyright infringement is similar to previous arguments leveled at Google Print — namely that search engines shouldn’t be able to display book snippets in the SERPs because that is the same as “republishing” copyrighted content.

The difference is that the intent of Google Print (aka Google Books) was to take content that did not exist online, whose authors had no intent of putting on the Web, and scan it in order to display those snippets. In this case, Perfect 10 Inc was disputing thumbnail displays of photos it presumably wants people to find, but only directly on its website and for a fee.

The ruling could prevent Google from featuring thumbnail pictures, but not limit Google from linking to actual photos which exist on other Web sites. Google expects to appeal an injunction if the judge issues one, the Mountain View, California-based company’s litigation counsel Michael Kwun said in a statement.

Kwun tries to reassure us: “We anticipate that any preliminary injunction will have no effect on the vast majority of image searches, and will affect only searches related to Perfect 10.”

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Category: Images,Intellectual Property

One-Third of Web Users Just ‘Hanging Out’

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at 8:04 pm

The Pew Internet & American Life Project, which has been documenting the social impact of the Internet, released the results of a new survey last week. According to Pew, nearly one-third of American Internet users go online just for fun on a typical day rather than to check email, read news or use a search engine. That’s a sharp increase over the number who responded this way a year ago.

“Hanging out” is now the third most popular activity on the Net, after emailing and using search engines. (If email, catching up on news, and searching for stuff doesn’t count as “just for fun,” what does?)

Conversely, two-thirds of respondents said they’ve tried at one time surfing the Web just to pass the time — meaning that one-third (of Internet users!) have never used the Internet just for fun. Well, guess that’s just more bandwidth for the rest of us.

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Category: Data

Hot Stories in the Internet Search Industry

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, February 18, 2006 at 10:28 am

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Category: Uncategorized