Sign Up For Gmail

Gmail has finally come out of invitation mode and is allowing everyone to create a Gmail account. There is one catch though – you need access to a mobile phone. Right now you can only sign up if you have a US mobile phone.

Google is saying that mobile phones allow them to verify if an account is being created by a real person instead of being automated. I think this is Google’s way of easing us into using our phones for more internet services. Slowly but surely, Google will introduce more applications that are mobile phone enabled. Keep in mind, Google did purchase Dodgeball for a reason.

Update: If you are looking to sign up for gmail – leave a comment here and I’ll send you one.

Google Releases v2.0 of Google Desktop

The next version of Google Desktop has been released and they added a ton of new features. The biggest change you will notice is the sidebar – a desktop panel that provides quick access to most of Google’s products.

From the sidebar you can access email, news, weather, photos, stocks, web clips, scratchpad, and a quick view of webpages and files. Quite a list. In addition, you can download plug-ins to extend the sidebar. Developers can make their own sidebar plug-ins with the Sidebar APIs.

Check out InsideGoogle and SEW for more in-depth reviews of the new Google Desktop and Sidebar.

Study Finds Yahoo’s Index Claim Suspicious

Matthew Cheney, Mike Perry, and Dr. Orville Vernon Burton of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications have compared the size of Yahoo and Google’s Index. The researchers based their study off of an assumption that the search engine with more documents for obscure search terms would be the engine with a larger index.

Since the size of an area crawled can be measured by its perimeter, we feel that small, randomly selected search queries gives us the best chance to locate some of the most obscure web documents. By counting the presence of these obscure documents in either search engine, we can measure the comprehensiveness of each search engine to determine the relative size of each search engine’s index.

They concluded that a user could expect to find 166% more results in the Google index when compared to Yahoo’s.

Based on the data created from our sample searches, this study concludes that a user can expect, on average, to receive 166.9% more results using the Google search engine than the Yahoo! search engine. In fact, in the 10,012 test cases we ran, only in 3% of the cases (307) did Yahoo! return more results. In 96.6% of the cases (9676) Google returned more results. In less than 1% of the cases (29) both search engines returned the same number of results.

It is the opinion of this study that Yahoo!’s claim to have a web index of over twice as many documents as Google’s index is suspicious. Unless a large number of the documents Yahoo! has indexed are not yet available to its search engine, we find it puzzling that Yahoo!’s search engine consistently returned fewer results than Google.

A study like this can never really conclude how big Yahoo and Google’s indexes are since there a limitations to how many results the esearch engines display. Both search engines only return 1,000 results max – when there may be many more results that are not displayed. Even then, search engines can just claim that they have indexed more pages than they choose to use for their display index.

Google Loses Trademark Case Versus Geico

A US district court judge has ruled against Google and found that there was infringement where the terms “Geico” and “Geico Direct” were used in the text of sponsored ads. This new ruling emphasizes that the infringement breach refers only to sponsored links that use Geico’s trade marks and does not conflict with the previous ruling in December.

The previous ruling stated that there was no trademark infringement when competitor ads are show for a trademarked term keyword. For instance Google can display various auto insurance ads for a search on “Geico”, but Google cannot display ads containing Geico’s trademarks in the ad’s text.

According to the article in The Register, Geico and Google will be given 30 days to settle. If they do not settle within 30 days, they will go back to trial to see if Google or Google’s advertisers will be liable. If advertisers are deemed liable, search engine marketers will need to be very careful about running ad campaigns with trademarked terms in the ad text.

Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings Goes Live

Two weeks ago AskJeeves announced their new PPC product – AskJeeves Sponsored Listings.

Today they are announcing the general availability of the system. Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings have been available to advertisers since August 1st. Advertisers will receive higher ad placement on AskJeeves above Google Adwords, which AskJeeves is still displaying. Currently, AskJeeves Sponsored Listings are only available on Ask.com. AskJeeves expects to launch the program on Ask.co.uk within the next 12 months.

The AskJeeves Sponsored Listings program is replacing the Premier Listings product which was a fixed price system. The new system resembles Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing products – an open-auction system that provides direct control over placement on AskJeeves.

Google And Apple Together?

Google may soon be offering Apple iTunes through the Google site. Are we seeing the first of many uses of Google’s micropayment system? Combining music search and music downloads would place Google way ahead of Yahoo – its main competitor in the music search arena.

I’d imagine Google to incorporate iTunes into any search regarding musical/artist terms. Any search for related to a particular artist, lyrics, or title of a song would bring up informational links and links to various iTunes songs available for purchase. Sounds like a great way to provide Google users with relevant info and a way for Google to increase its media offerings.

Technorati About to be Sold

B.L. Ochman is saying that “Technorati is about to be sold to a large search engine company. The deal should go down in about a week.”

My bet is Yahoo – Yahoo has already bought Blo.gs and Flickr. They started their own social networking blog product Yahoo 360. They have been very aggressive with recent investments (Alibaba) and my bet is they are the ones who grab this one. Technorati fits in well with their current blogish acquisitions.

More On Links

SERoundtable has covered a couple sessions on linking from SES San Jose and the overall theme I’ve been getting from each of these sessions is to keep your links looking natural.

Both Matt Cutts (Google) and Tim Mayer (Yahoo) have said that varied incoming anchor text is the most natural, so if all your links are incoming with the same anchor text most likely the link weight will be devalued. When working on building links aim for the most natural approach possible – this means human interaction and less automation. Vary your anchor text, ips, domains, location of link (footer vs content), and the location that link is pointing to. As search engines get smarter and filter out unnatural linking methods, your hard work will pay off.

This goes for reciprocal links too – link for your visitor and not the engines. If a resource is worth linking to, then link to them. Don’t worry about hoarding PR or protecting outgoing links, link freely as long as it benefits your visitor.

Yahoo Publisher Network Invite Only Beta

Yahoo is finally releasing it’s AdSense competitor – Yahoo Publisher Network.

Yahoo has had a while to take a look at Google AdSense and figure out what AdSense lacks so that they can improve on the network. Yahoo plans to address customer service issues and give publishers more control over what ads will be shown on their sites.

Our new self-serve platform will offer publishers new sources of revenue, starting with our Content Match contextual advertising product, and one-stop access to unique Yahoo! products, such as “Add to My Yahoo!” buttons and Yahoo!’s Y!Q beta. The Yahoo! Publisher Network self-serve beta will also offer phone and email customer service and in the coming weeks, will feature ad targeting capabilities to publishers. And that’s just the beginning. Down the road look for more opportunities through the self-serve platform that draw from other types of Yahoo! content (Think: Web search, “Add to My Web” buttons, RSS advertising, shopping…).

Check out Barry’s interview with the GM of YPN over at SE Roundtable for more info.

Advice from Andrew Goodman

If you don’t subscribe to SEM2 – I suggest you start now. Here’s a snippet from Andrew Goodman that you would have gotten if you were a subscriber.

By trading primarily in two-word broad matches, you are by definition
“tracking in buckets” and making the task of analysis, and knowing when
a keyword’s performance is statistically significant, easier. With a
lot of four-word broad matches, on any given one, you will either have
zero or one sales conversion, resulting in an ROI performance stat that
suggests the keyword is either utterly useless or utterly fantastic,
neither of which are true.

Keyword mining is important, but there is a point of diminishing
returns, especially on long phrases. Finding different lateral paths to
consumers’ thought processes — using inductive and deductive logic to
piece together what works so you can find more, similar little Eurekas
– is something I’ve been doing since AdWords launched. Unfortunately I
suspect that like any “should do” business task, some of us get
overzealous with it.

Andrew Goodman, the PPC guru, regularly responds to the mailing list – as do many other well known search engine marketing experts. I highly recommend signing up for this list.

Ask Jeeves Launches Sponsored Listings

Been away for the weekend, so I missed out on some of the new bits about Ask Jeeves’ Paid Listings. Danny has the details about the new program over at SEW.

Ask Jeeves controls around 5% of the search market in the US. I’m not sure people will go through the hassle to manage a seperate advertising campaign on Ask Jeeves with MSN’s new advertising network coming out soon.

If IAC, Ask Jeeves’ parent company, allows for advertisers to place paid listings on their flagship sites like Expedia, CitySearch, Hotwire using a site targeted feature they may be able to attract advertisers looking for a ppc option for single sites.