Whats Up With WebSourced?

I’m not sure I understand what WebSourced is up to. I’ve been tracking Andy’s site for any glimpse of information about why Andy left and why there were so many high level employees leaving WebSourced recently. So today I check the site and notice a post titled “WebSourced and the Future of Interactive” – interesting, maybe they are finally going to clue us in into what is going on over there.

Instead, it’s an introduction to their new VP of Marketing, Keith Sturges. That’s a great piece of information and all, but what I really want to know is why Andy left. What is happening on his site? What is happening over at WebSourced? I didn’t come to Search Engine Lowdown for WebSourced PR. I think introducing their new interim VP is great, but why bombard us with random marketing and PR drivel?

WebSourced stripped all mention of Andy Beal on the web site and removed any acknowledgement of his work on the site.

I sure hope WebSourced gets a clue and rethinks what they are doing to one of the best sites on search engine marketing. Oh well, good luck Keith – you’ve got big boots to fill.

Google Personalized Homepage Adds RSS

Google adds bookmarks and rss feeds to it’s personalized homepage service.

A lot of you have personalized your Google homepage since we introduced it on Labs in May. Since then we’ve received a ton of great feedback, based on which we’ve added some new options, including a section for bookmarks, updated the page’s look-and-feel, and introduced a way to find and add feeds from wherever you want (which means I can keep up with the latest John Cougar Mellencamp news).

Google Code Jam 2005

Registration for Google Code Jam 2005 is now available at TopCoder.

So if you are an amazing Java, C++, C#, or VB programmer – head over there and register. Prizes range from $750 to $10,000.

The competition consists of two main phases: coding and breaking.

Participants are given three problems in which they are to code solutions for in the fastest amount of time possible. Following the coding phase, participants try and break other competitors code during the competition phase.

Staying Alert With Help From Google

Google added a new feature to the Google Alerts program – Google Groups Alerts.

Now you can monitor the top search results for Google Groups by keywords.

Any new articles posted that match your criteria will be emailed to you, just like Google News alerts. The ideal candidates for Groups Alerts are those that might be discussed in multiple discussion groups. Give it a try and see if you don’t save time – and stay current.

Google Alerts are great for keeping informed with Google changes – In addition to news, I also track my link: site: commands with Google Alerts. With this addition I’ll be adding Google Groups as well.

Google Improves AdWords System

Google recently introduced two new changes to their AdWords system. (via Inside Adwords)

Simplified Keyword States: Keywords will be placed in to one of two states – active or inactive. People like the idea of something that’s a little more binary – on/off, day/night, hot/cold – you get the picture.

Increased Control: We’re replacing the static USD $0.05 minimum bid for all keywords with a minimum bid that varies based on the quality of your keyword and ad text. High quality keywords (determined by the Quality Score) will have minimum bids as low as $0.01, while keywords with a lower Quality Score will be assigned higher minimum bids. As long as the maximum CPC meets the minimum bid, your keyword will be active. You no longer have to worry about on hold, in trial, or disabled keywords.

Both these changes will help advertisers improve their campaigns – I like the lower minimum ad bid corresponding to higher quality.

CPA Ads Gets Snap Some Funding

Snap.com get $10 million in funding. (via Paid Content)

Gross and Snap CEO Tom McGovern intend to use some of that money to spread the word about a system that he believes can deliver better value for advertisers, by combating click fraud. The Pasadena, CA-based search site will only take CPA-based ads, that is a system that only charges ad commission when a purchase is actually completed.

I posted a while ago about CPA ads and how CPA search ads maybe where Google is headed. Good to see Snap investing heavily in CPA ads and I’m sure advertisers will flock to Snap.com if they can increase traffic to their web site.

MSN Feedback Tagging System

The guys (and gals) over at MSN give us a brief look at how they deal with the massive amount of feedback they receive.

They are using tagging to help segment issues and slice data into usable chunks – pretty smart.

Tagging is particularly appropriate for feedback as users rarely talk just about one issue or neatly constrain their comments to a single feature team…It shows just one view of the feedback, which segments by the type of issue. User raised issues are dealt with in every stage of development, while feature requests feed into planning, and usability sits somewhere in between. Another essential set of views slices this data by the feature.

Ballmer Says Microsoft is Serious About Beating Yahoo and Google

During the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2005, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer stressed the importance of search and the pace of innovation within the search engine space.

ALLISON WATSON: All right, with the recent enhancement in MSN.com search capabilities and the search-centric focus of the soon to be launched Windows “Longhorn” product, what is your view on the significance of index search and retrieval across the Microsoft family of products?

STEVE BALLMER: Thanks, Justin, for the question, and the answer is super, super important. Super important.

Now, if you ask one area where I really think you’ll see extra innovation and investment and drive, it really is in information organization, search and retrieval. That will be an area that we really push ourselves. We’ll push ourselves at the desktop, we’ll push ourselves at the corporate network level, we’ll push ourselves out in the Internet. We launched our first MSN Search product based on our own search technologies. In SharePoint Portal we’re pushing the search technologies. In “Longhorn” it’s not just about search, it’s about changing the way you manage and organize information that’s interesting to you. In our new portal technologies it’s about changing the way you manage and find information that is interesting to you.

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DMCA Complaints are the New Blackhat Technique

What happens if someone files a DCMA complaint against your domain to Yahoo?

Brian Turner from Platinax believes your domain will be removed from the Yahoo index and that Yahoo does not check the validity of DCMA complaints.

And I should know – the domain that you’re reading this on, www.platinax.co.uk – was removed from Yahoo! search in November 2004, apparently after such a complaint – a complaint that I was never even made aware of.

Interestingly enough, no DMCA complaint has apparently been filed against Platinax via any other search engine – and even after Yahoo! finally confirmed that a DMCA complaint has been made to them against this site, Yahoo! will not provide any details of the complaint.