Re-Targeting Advertisments

The New York Times is reporting on a new kind of web ad that takes products you were looking at purchasing on one site and continually advertises them in front of you at subsequent sites. After looking at shoes at Zappos, a mother in Montreal noticed the shoes followed her: 'For days or weeks, every site I went to seemed to be showing me ads for those shoes. It is a pretty clever marketing tool. But it's a little creepy, especially if you don't know what's going on.' The spreading ploy is called 'retargeting ads' and really are just a good demonstration of how an old technology (all they use are leftover browser cookies) are truly invasive and privacy violating. Opponents are clamoring for government regulation to protect the consumer and one writer mentioned a consumer 'do not track' list — adding that retailers really show little fear of turning off customers with their invasion.

Yahoo’s Results Now Come From Bing

Yahoo just announced the transition from Yahoo Search powered results to Bing powered organic Yahoo search results is now complete. The search ads are still from Yahoo but the free, organic results are now powered by Bing in the U.S. and Canada.

Shashi Seth, Senior Vice President of Yahoo! Search Products, said ” I am proud to announce that the transition of organic search between Yahoo! and Microsoft is complete.” He then told everyone to check out the Bing blog to see what they had to say.

Bing said:
Today I am happy to share that Bing is powering Yahoo!’s search results in the US and Canada (English only for now, the other languages will come in the weeks and months ahead).
So what’s next? We continue to work hard on the migration to adCenter, and are optimistic about completing this phase later this fall. As we have said all along, our primary goal is to provide advertisers with a quality transition experience in 2010, while being mindful of the holiday season.
This is a great milestone for Bing and Yahoo! and our customers, and we are happy to report the transition has gone smoothly and we feel great about the progress our search alliance has been making over the summer.
Shashi Seth of Yahoo also added, “we are also working hard on finalizing our revenue model for the Yahoo! Search BOSS program going forward, and will be offering other search-related tools for publishers in the months to come.”

The full transition began about a week ago and is fully live now.

You can confirm this yourself by conducing a search at Yahoo and scrolling to the bottom of the page. At the bottom, there should be a “Powered by Bing” line in really small font:

Ahh but not so fast.  What does this really mean to you?

5% LESS organic traffic from Bing + Yahoo to your website.  This means Google will continue to dominate the market with near 80-90% market share for the foreseeable future..

Eye Tracking Study Shows Importance Of Search Snippets

A new eye tracking study done in Spanish by Mari-Carmen Marcos and Cristina González-Caro at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and published July 2010 (Spanish PDF over here) was translated by Ani López reveals some new insights into searcher behavior.

The study shows that the search snippet, often the meta description from the site, is an extremely important factor for searchers. The study included 58 people of both genders and wide age range and tested informational, navigational, transactional and multimedia types of searches. The searches were done on Google, Google Images, Yahoo and Yahoo Images with a total of 22 tasks per person.

Here is the outcome of the study:

As you can see, the snippet is fixated over more than the title or the URL. Meaning the searchers spent more time looking at the snippet than the title or URL of the search result. This may imply that having a nice snippet, which is sometimes pulled from your meta description, is critical in increasing the chances of someone clicking on your search listing, instead of your competitors.

Google Doubles Pace Of Acquisitions In 2010

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt said he has doubled that pace because “the opportunities are there.” Schmidt added, “We can afford it. We’re in a mode of investment for the long term.” Just this year, Google has acquired 17 companies including Aardvark, reMail, Picnik, DocVerse, Simplify Media, Episodic, PlinkArt, Agnilux, LabPixies, Bump Technologies, Global IP Solutions, Simplify Media, Invite Media, ITA Software, Metaweb, Instantiations, and Jambool.

Google Updating Search Results As You Type

Rob Ousbey documented on video how Google is testing a feature where the search results on the page are updating as you type your search query. This is a form of search query refinement and Google Suggest that dynamically modifies the search results on the page as you type.

Official: Google Now Lets One Domain Dominate Search Results

Prior to this week, Google would only show up to two results from the same domain on a single search result page. Now, Google has confirmed what many are seeing, where a single brand dominates a single page of Google’s search results.

This is not a bug, this is not an anomaly, it is an intentional change to Google’s ranking algorithm. Google said:

Today we’ve launched a change to our ranking algorithm that will make it much easier for users to find a large number of results from a single site. For queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain.

What I find interesting is the last statement by Google:

We expect today’s improvement will help users find deeper results from a single site, while still providing diversity on the results page.

Remember, Google’s Peter Norvig who said, “for the second one [search result], you don’t want something that’s almost the same as the first. You prefer some diversity, so there’s where minority views start coming in.” You prefer diversity. Google is clearly saying that a result from the same site can still be diverse and different enough, even if there are ten results, all from the same site.

On the reputation management front, this is a clear winner for those with reputation management issues.

Thought for the day

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