Thursday, July 31, 2008

Share your feed - You'll feel good about it!

When I first started this blog last August, people in the SEO space, and in the tech space in general, were getting their information from essentially two places. Their own customized Google Reader feeds and Twitter.

I was using the combination as well. It integrated nicely into my 'toolbox', and Twitter was not only a chat mechanism, but a great networking and discovery vehicle as well.

I noted it here as I made some changes earlier this year. This past week I've had a rather huge increase in subscribers, so I'm going to explain it again, for those of you that are new to this place and also to credit a few people (long overdue) that help keep the audience growing.

When I first came across Louis Gray, his blog had recently emerged from obscurity. He had been mentioned by some long-time bloggers as 'someone to watch', and watch they did, as Louis' blog rapidly became the defacto standard as the 'breaking source' for early adopters (Those people that quickly embrace a new web services, use them, and usually blog about the results).

Louis was sharing his Google Reader feeds. It occurred to me at the time, that by sharing feeds, not just to aggregators like Readburner, RSSMeMe, LinkBurner, LinkRiver and others, but right here (in the right column) , I could not only deliver my own personal picks from around the web quickly and easily, but I could concentrate my own efforts on writing about stories that weren't being mentioned, and get a little more creative with opinion, as well as deliver information and news that I felt you might find interesting.
There were others in the tech sector sharing feeds as well. Not nearly as many as I would have liked, but they were there.

The switch was successful. The numbers grew.

There are two kinds of numbers, and that's what this piece is about.

I call them one-day wonders. The days where one piece goes viral for one or two days. In retrospect, those articles were completely original, not news, not necessarily opinion, but unique. Two of them made the 'headline' area of TechMeMe. The headline area of TechMeMe delivers hits. Many other posts that followed made the TechMeMe's discussion area. While the discussion links deliver a MUCH lower return, it certainly doesn't hurt brand recognition.

The 'one-day wonders' are nice (and exciting!) but subscribers are where things get sticky. I've come to the conclusion that for new or smaller blogs, there are two ways to get people to subscribe to your feed as a daily reader, and another nice 'bump' this week confirmed it.

One is obvious. If people discover you, and they like what you're about, they're going to subscribe to your feed. The other vehicle, that is positively sticky and keeps them coming back, is when someone mentions your blog on their blog, or 'shares' you, as Louis (first) did for me in the first of his series highlighting '5 blogs you may not be reading'. Others followed. Almost every one came as a complete surprise and vindication of what I was trying to create here. Facts, fun, the new adopter scene, and no nonsense (and absolutely no sensational) reporting.

This past week several blogs highlighted their own lists of shared reads. I was somewhat humbled once again to be included on many of them.

I let a few days go by on purpose before writing this. In the 'blog world' (if you're lucky), people seem to have about a two-day memory.

So here's the round up of bloggers and their feeds, some established, some new, all interesting a thought provoking. The best part about these lists is that they are very diverse ... from long time established bloggers, to bloggers just starting out.

Louis, once again, led the way with this post. It was his 'Top-40'. In the days that followed, Sarah Perez published her Top-45. Others followed as well.

Want fresh content? Be sure and check out these lists.

I'm not going to name them all in this piece, but my sincere thanks to every single one of you that has visited or shared these feeds. No doubt, you are on one of the two lists.

Update 1 1:24 AM ET

Update 2  Yuvi,  'The Statbot' has a mind-boggling analysis of shared feeds here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dell 'looks good' with Studio Hybrid early launch

While rumors circulated this week about Dell being the latest company preparing to take on Apple's iPod, the company surprised almost everyone late yesterday unleashing it's new 'Studio Hybrid' computer line as available now on the Dell website (and expected in retailers by next month).

The Hybrid appears to be looking right at Apple.  One of the most stylish Windows-based computers yet, the tiny and ultra-energy-efficient desktop can be personalized with 6 interchangeable color sleeves or an optional classic bamboo cover.

Starting at just under $500 and customizable from there, the Dell Hybrid sports an Intel Dual Core processor and Intel's new GM45 chipset.

Potentially one of the 'greenest' computers yet, the packaging is made from 95% recyclable materials (and even comes with a recycling kit).  It uses 70% less power than previous Dell desktops, meeting the latest Energy Star 4.0 Standard.

Various configurations are available from 1 to 4 GB of RAM, 160 to 320GB drives, and 1.8 to 2.6 Ghz processors.  All units come with Microsoft Vista SP1, DVI and HDMI ports, a DVD/RW drive, Intel X3100 accelerator graphics, 5.1 ch sound, 8 in 1 card readers, and 1 year of Dell off-site back-up.

Options appear targeted at the home theater crowd with available Blu-Ray Disc, the classic Bamboo cover, a variety of widescreen monitor options, a hybrid video recorder, HDTV receiver, Dell on-board wireless-N networking, and 3 different versions of Microsoft Windows Vista.  A remote control, wireless keyboard and mouse are also available.

Clearly a 'style' and 'green' play, there are some laptops and desktops that are currently near the Hybrid in price with similar specs, although most don't sport the integral HDMI or Blu-Ray Disc ... yet.

You can check it out now at the Hybrid Studio page here.

Seesmic upgrades - Adds Blocking, more

Seesmic in pushing out an upgrade today which includes blocking (if you don't want someone in your timeline), a new sidebar, and an option whether or not to have a video in your timeline.

The video (Hope this works on Blogger ??!!) is here :

More details have just been posted to the Seesmic blog here.

Update: It worked ! :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brief: Adobe launches Lightroom 2

An upgraded Photo Management package was announced by Adobe earlier this morning.

Lightroom 2 is now available for most versions of Windows and OS X.

The package is somewhat resource intensive so be sure and check the system requirements before downloading.

More information in Adobe Lightroom 2 can be found here.

Yahoo wins .... Huh?

Yesterday, as Cuil made it's way through the online (and offline) media, it seemed the first thing everyone did was search their own name.

The practice, affectionately known as an 'ego search' revealed all kinds of interesting (some actually fun) results.

Late last night, I ran a little test for ego searches on Google, Yahoo, and

The same 40 names that I had tried on Cuil the day before.  A few well-known web names and an assortment of relatively obscure people.  A good mix.

Who won?   Yahoo!.   Hands down.

So everybody....

Stop what you're doing right now...

and start optimizing for Yahoo!.  :)....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Google's next big challenge is ... Google.

While the world debates the long-anticipated launch of Cuil today, it's time to take a look at what Google's next challenge really is.

It's NOT Cuil.  It's not Microsoft.

It's in the mirror.

By any historical reference, Google has become a huge company in a very short period of time.

In the past few months, they've literally been firing on all cylinders.

They've entered radio, TV and print advertising.

Media buyers are completely at a loss (They don't tell 'the boss' that ... but they are).  Do they trust the (relatively new) Google Ad Planner product as it begins to migrate across ALL advertising sectors?

It's actually one of the best times in history for media buyers because the choice is extensive.  They just need to work through this 'new curve', and in the current economy, they need to do it quickly.

The unique culture at the company will be a difficult to maintain at this level and is a large part of their 'employee happiness and retention' program.

In the meantime, some of Google's strongest 'allies', including a few (not all) of the 'original' SEO crowd, are starting to take measured shots at the company.

It's just the beginning.

Microsoft's been dealing with this ever since their environment turned 'corporate'.  A LOT of tech advisors, consultants, and administrators literally trash Microsoft on a regular basis.  Some simply won't use anything they make. (A pretty difficult prospect at best in the enterprise right now).

Recent stats from a variety of companies have Google with 65-75% of search. 

When you reach the pinnacle, people are going to take shots at you.

Google has literally changed the landscape (and NUMEROUS industries), as Microsoft (and IBM before them) did.

It's not a coincidence that Google is growing it's NY staff (close to Madison Avenue and Wall Street) while others are scaling back,

Google's biggest challenge going forward is PR. 

How will they handle it?

That chapter will be written later this year and well into next year.  It could very well be one of the most difficult obstacles the company has ever faced.

Eric Schmidt has his hands full and nobody's really talking about it yet .... so I thought I would :)

Food for thought.
Enjoy the week all

How Cuill is this? Cuill is Now Cuil and it's here - Competition for Google?

It was back in October than my fascination with a start-up, then known as Cuill (with two l's) was planning to take on Google, or so it seemed.  Some outright laughed.  Others looked at who was behind it.

"Hey, this could be real?"

Many speculated that Cuill would be purchased even before it launched as their bot became more and more visible, indexing what appeared to be a huge volume of blogs and websites.

A few months ago, ex-Googler Louis Monier began to break the 'quiet' that had surrounded the start-up, addressing an SMX audience, as many of us read the live blogging and chatted later that evening.

As has been the case lately, my first clue that Cuill (ugh ... Cuil :) was about to launch came the other night on Friendfeed, as another ex-Googler and Friendfeed co-founder Paul Buchheit pointed to a Maksonland post.

A few hours ago, after almost a year in the 'dark', Cuill launched live, apparently losing an 'l' along the way,  and now known as Cuil.  Billing itself as the biggest search engine on the web, I seriously doubt too many people are going to argue with this roster of engineering and marketing 'pilots'.

The buzz on TechMeMe is already well underway (updated AM link).

Louis Gray has even provided a one click Cuil article search on Friendfeed where the discussion thread (along with mixed reviews) is growing.

Will Cuil be cool?

Way too early to tell, but fascinating to watch.

Update 3:  Google Trends as of 10:45 ET has Cuil (and all of the various mis-spellings) in positions 2,4,6,13,18,24,33,47 :

edited (updated links) 1 PM ET

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Update: now allowing embedding.

Just a brief update to the piece yesterday on the new NASA website, putting the Internet archives' photos (and videos) in one place at

Apparently, NASA has confirmed that most of the photos (and some video) are 'OK for use' as there is now a tab to 'embed' any of them in your own website of blog...

This site is about to get a lot of action.

As for me, I could spend a whole day playing with this and also PicLens.

Have a GREAT weekend all and Thanks!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

NASA and Internet Archive partner images -

The photos appeared in my Friendfeed stream a short time ago and the were absolutely amazing ... so, a little quick research to find out what was going on.

A few accounts had already been posted to the web about the latest NASA photos.  Theweren't entirely accurate.  I decided to write this not only to make clear what was actually happening, but to bring it to my   readers as well. 

It is going to be a great show. ....and maybe a little bit of 'history redefined by partnering'.

The Internet Archive (aka Wayback Machine) has partnered with NASA to bring to the extraordinary collection of web-based space images over the years to one place on the Internet.

The site is live now and it is definately worth checking out.

To go where no man (or woman) has gone before ? ....

The joint press release is below. 

David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington July 24, 2008

Paul Hickman
Internet Archive
415-462-1509, 415-561-6767

RELEASE: 08-173


WASHINGTON -- NASA and Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library based in San Francisco, made available the most comprehensive compilation ever of NASA's vast collection of photographs, historic film and video Thursday. Located at, the Internet site combines for the first time 21 major NASA imagery collections into a single, searchable online resource. A link to the Web site will appear on the

The Web site launch is the first step in a five-year partnership that will add millions of images and thousands of hours of video and audio content, with enhanced search and viewing capabilities, and new user features on a continuing basis. Over time, integration of with will become more seamless and comprehensive.

"This partnership with Internet Archive enables NASA to provide the American public with access to its vast collection of imagery from one searchable source, unlocking a new treasure trove of discoveries for students, historians, enthusiasts and researchers," said NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale. "This new resource also will enable the agency to digitize and preserve historical content now not available on the Internet for future generations."

Through a competitive process, NASA selected Internet Archive to manage the NASA Images Web site under a non-exclusive Space Act agreement, signed in July 2007. The five-year project is at no cost to the taxpayer and the images are free to the public.

"NASA's media is an incredibly important and valuable national asset. It is a tremendous honor for the Internet Archive to be NASA's partner in this project," says Brewster Kahle, founder of Internet Archive. "We are excited to mark this first step in a long-term collaboration to create a rich and growing public resource."

The content of the Web site covers all the diverse activities of America's space program, including imagery from the Apollo moon missions, Hubble Space Telescope views of the universe and experimental aircraft past and present. Keyword searching is available with easy-to-use resources for teachers and students.

Internet Archive is developing the NASA Images project using software donated by Luna Imaging Inc. of Los Angeles and with the generous support of the Kahle-Austin Foundation of San Francisco.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

For more information about Internet Archive, visit:

XM / Sirius merger gets the green light

Satellite Radio providers XM and Sirius passed the final regulatory hurdle to merge the two companies and subscription services with a ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission late Friday.

The merger was originally proposed over a year and a half ago as other entertainment devices for cars gained in popularity, and capital expenditures by the two companies for satellites, terrestrial repeaters, and content had far exceeded any potential return.

Many people in rural areas (where radio can be spotty) and those that drive long distances (truck drivers among them) applauded the decision, while others including some broadcasters, consumer advocate groups,  and others had lobbied against the merger.

The FCC is fining both companies for operating their land-based systems repeater systems outside of  FCC regulations.

The plan calls for XM and Sirius to combine services, satellite and repeater use, and to provide a new lower price schedule to consumers, who most-likely will be seeing new product offerings directly from new car dealers shortly.

Unlike a few years ago, manufacturers had slowed innovation of external new add-on receivers for both services until the outcome of the hearings were known.

Update Jul 29:  Numerous 'trusted' news sources are now confirming XM / Sirius is a done deal.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 RC1

Microsoft has posted a public preview (Release Candidate 1) of Small Business Server 2008.

Registration may be required to download the trial and caution should be exercised here.

1) The is an early preview release and should not be installed on anything but a 'beta box'.
2) Only the 'Premium' version supports x86. The Standard version ONLY supports 64 bit processors.

Seems like it should the reverse ?!

We're giving it a test ride now....

So for you beta types .. that's the latest edition of 'free software to mess with over the weekend'.

Danny Sullivan's wife launches start up

It's actually been more than a few weeks since Lorna Harris launched in Beta.  The 'social news site for women' now appears to be slowly evolving.

Harris is married to Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Watch (since sold) and currently owner of Search Engine Land (and it's other properties including Sphinn and SMX).

It's safe to say that the start-up will get a LOT of exposure as site continues to be developed. has taken a clean, relatively simple (and yes, SEO friendly :) approach to it's format.  News, Arts, House, Time-Off and Talk are the primary categories with 'Digg-like' voting onboard.

At this stage, it may be a ground floor opportunity to join for those that play in that space.

You can check out here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mozilla updates Thunderbird - Version

Late Wednesday, Mozilla released a new version of the popular e-mail client Thunderbird 2.

The update includes both security and stability releases.

If you're already using Thunderbird, just click 'Help' and 'Check for Updates'.

If you want to try it, or haven't used it before, the new download page is here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Google launches Knol Beta to all !

A short time ago, Google announced that Knol, the initiative first mentioned in December with "authoritative articles about specific subjects", is now open to everyone.

I tried logging in a short time ago and my 'credentials' came right up (and then I decided to write here instead :)

Knol had been seen as a potential competitor to sites such as Wikipedia, and more-recently Mahalo but has been pretty much under wraps until early today.

As many of you know, I've been a pretty strong critic of Wikipedia, and the never-ending commercial gaming that goes on there, even after they added the no-follow tags. At least in the spaces that I watch, Wikipedia continues to get hammered by people looking to disassemble good articles for personal gain. Really sad, as the idea was great.

There appears to be a pretty good rulebook in place for the Knol launch. I did scan some of the articles and they did contain a few commercial links but they were relevant.

Does Google's timing have anything to do with Microsoft's recent acquisition of Powerset?

Will it have an effect on Mahalo or Wikipedia?

I'll let you decide.

We already have and (and others).

Regardless, Knol does look pretty cool so far.   Check it out here.

Update 1 - 3:05 PM ET : In an apparent strong launch, Google has taken the announcement to their Blogger Buzz as well.

Update 2 - 8 AM ET Jul 24: Google Blogoscoped now has two in-depth articles on Knol that are more in depth here and if you need more, you can always read one of these (The gang's all here :)

Desktop 4.0 being delivered by Windows Update

Late yesterday, Microsoft began delivering Windows Desktop 4.0 automatically via Windows Update to Vista users.

While it is marked as a 'recommended' update and not a security or stability update, Desktop 4.0 does have numerous competitors, and also can use significant hard disk space as well as available RAM at times.

This probably should have been a clearer 'opt-in' add-on rather than an automatic delivery. 

To Microsoft's credit, an announcement was made Friday about the upcoming release on TechNet.

I opted to uninstall and keep my resources as available as possible.

There are numerous Desktop search products available in the marketplace.  Many use Microsoft's, Google's or others.  Conflicts between these programs could arise with numerous calls to index your hard drive.

In other update news, Sun has updated Java Version 6 to Update 7 (which is clearly performing better than it's predecessor). If you have the Java automatic updater turned off, you may want to click the icon in your Vista or XP control panel and see which version you have on board.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 survives the Desktop Client Invasion - Updated

With Twhirl and Posty simultaneously announcing integration with, there was some question as to whether or not the less-than-one-month old microblogging service would survive the onslaught of early adopters today.

The current version of Posty is still 1.4 - Version 1.5, which adds, is still in beta.
See update below - Posty 1.5 is out of beta.

The early adopter gang is growing, and although still relatively small, Twhirl already had a pretty loyal following and the new version was moved to the main site early this morning.

The 'new reality' is that there are LOTS of new people that are finding out about these products from the other products (Twitter, Friendfeed, etc), and many just can't wait to get their hands on the latest free software goodies.

I checked in a few times today, and while response times varied, was very much alive and well.'s infrastructure is completely different from Twitter's, so I suppose my suspicion that the service might go down wasn't a valid comparison.

Regardless, kudos to the gang at

If my inbox (new followers) is any indication ..... it just works.

Update 2 AM ET July 23:  Friendfeed just added both and Plurk as noted by Louis Gray on Twitter and confirmed by Friendfeed co-founder Paul Buchheit)

Update 3: Posty version 1.5 is now out of beta and can be found here

Monday, July 21, 2008

10 start-ups to keep an eye on

Ten start-ups on their way to stardom?

For the sake of this article... Start-up is defined as an Internet property with break out potential (or even top of class), reasonable backing (or reasonable backing available), new and /or 'around for a bit but growing exponentially' ... or just stuff I like :)

Here we go:

1) Disqus - For those of you new to this place - The article is here.  Still an upcoming winner.
2) Twitter - While many have written the service off due to technical difficulties, Twitter is here to stay (see previous article) and the users keep coming back!
3) - Great initial PR and a unique open architecture, not to mention a lot of activity, places in the 'player' category.  The next version of the popular Twirl client will support (I'm using it and it's slick and easy). Emerging coolness.
4) Seesmic - Loic Le Meur is extremely responsive to his audience (a biggie for me, as some of you know) and Seesmic has been integrated into Disqus, Twhirl (which they own) and is already embedded (via Disqus) for video comments on hundreds of blogs.
5) Fetchdog - I actually met the some of the players of this dog-centric website for the first time right on Friendfeed last week.  The interaction was instantaneous and informative.  The website can literally match people's lifestyles to dogs in seconds, has TONS of information for new dog owners as well as a large online store with unique items.  The staff knows the web and Web 2.0. 
6) Friendfeed - For those that aren't there yet, I've adopted Friendfeed as my start-up page as have many others.  The ex-Googlers that launched it are adding and tweaking every day, and are also responsive to any apparent bugs and feature requests. Far and away the best networking and discovery vehicle I've ever used.  Potentially intimidating to new users due to it's rapid growth over a short period of time. Well worth the learning curve.
7) Pandora -  Huge online happiness abounds about this service that delivers music from the Music Genome Project.  Already mobile with deals on place with AT&T and Sprint.
8) - Doing the best job of combining most of the major career and job search websites into one.  Less a few hold-outs, literally a one-stop shop for job seekers.  Great progress here.
9) Zillow - I talked A LOT on this blog about Zillow, in the early stages, when ex-Googler Vanessa Fox was working with them. (Fox, for some reason, always gets my attention and has a few of her own start-ups underway ... for the next list :).  Zillow recently introduced a feature where you can type in an address (almost any address), and see recent comps (area sales) and other info on a property whether it's listed on their site or not.  A sheer hit for those re-entering the housing market.  Innovation continues here while others in this space have turn their attention elsewhere. 
10) - The buzz continues here in an all-important and rapidly growing online vertical .. education.  LOTS of information for parents and students, and interesting partnering with schools and more. and are part of this company.

Obviously, the downside to lists like this is tthat there are many others that should be here.

But ... that just leaves room for the next list, depending on YOUR reactions to this one :)

Check 'em out and enjoy

Staff edit 2:20 ET

Breaking: Yahoo! does deal with Icahn

Yet another unexpected twist in the ongoing Yahoo-Microsoft-AOL-Icahn-and 'whoever is next' saga.

Yahoo has released a statement indicating that they have reached a settlement with investor Carl Icahn.

Yahoo agreed to alter it's nominations to the Yahoo board of directors in exchange for Carl Icahn voting his 4.98 percent of Yahoo's stock in favor of the elected board.

The board will be expanded to 11 from 8 members, with Jerry Yang still very much on the ballot and Robert Kotick stepping down.  Icahn himself would get a seat on the board under the agreement.

The new slate of board nominees and the complete announcement from Yahoo! can be found here or the official post on the Yahoo! corporate website here.

Edit 8:45 AM ET

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another big test for Twitter tomorrow - Updated

Last week, it started becoming apparent that Twitter's uptime was improving, and many were returning to the free microblogging service as part of their daily routine.

If you don't normally follow this space, the very popular service ran into some (serious) difficulties a few months ago, when the volume of calls to their API and other issues started crashing the service.... on an all-too-frequent basis.

Twitter had built a large community of applications, and last week suggested that more people may actually be using the service via the API's, than from the web homepage itself.

Users were getting outright angry at the outages. Twitter was part of their daily online experience. Jokes and cartoons proliferated the Internet. Some websites went as far as to predict the 'end of Twitter', while others declared, "That's it, I'm not using Twitter anymore".

Twitter did, in fact, have a PR problem. Their answer at the time was "We don't have a full-time PR person on staff" and updates to the Twitter blog were being made very sporadically by an 'anonymous person'.

That all changed during the past month with a large infusion of capital by several sources (including Amazon's Jeff Bezos' own venture capital firm). $20 million? (Someone must have a plan ?!).

Over the past few weeks, Twitter has been adjusting, testing, and yes, slowly returning. The PR (and communications directly with users) has gotten MUCH better, and while the fail whale is still alive and well (I think, I'd miss it :), the service is slowly becoming more reliable once again.

Other similar services have sprung up such as Plurk and but neither has had the time to grow the relatively huge user base that Twitter has enjoyed.

Tomorrow's USA today will have an article on Twitter, no doubt inviting yet another round of 'just regular people' to discover the service.

Is Twitter ready?

We should find out in 10 or 12 hours :)

For those of you that want to follow me on Twitter, I'm here. You'll probably have a little more luck engaging me in direct conversation on Friendfeed here.

Hoping everyone had A GREAT weekend! ....


Update:  Apparently today is Veronica Belmont's birthday.  She currently has (have a seat) 28,101 Twitter followers.  If the 'fail whale' arrives, it's anyone's guess whether it was USA Today or Belmont :)

Update 2:

Staff edit  July 21 2008 11.35 PM ET

Friday, July 18, 2008

First babies on Friendfeed. Now a 'social' engagement!

What a great way to end the week!

Most people in this industry have short memories ... for the good things.  I pride myself on trying not to.

In the early stages of this blog, I came across Bill Slawski and Kimberly Bock.

We had some online conversation. and ... both of them were very good to this blog in the very early stages last year.

Bill and I tried a little cross-blogging on Adobe Air, and Kim was bookmarking me all over the place.

Over time, you discover new stuff and people.

I haven't really been in touch with either of them recently ... until today.

So for those of you that haven't seen their Twitter streams or blog posts today.

Take a look here and here.     (Get the tissues first).

Congrats you guys!

Google buying Russian Search Site

Rambler Media announced this morning that the controlling interest in Russian search engine Begun is being acquired by Google.

Rambler will hold the remaining 49%.

Google's majority interest is being acquired for $140 million (US) and remains subject to regulatory approvals.

Rambler operates numerous Russian websites and services including Rambler, Lenta, Index20, and Ferra.

The announcement (PDF) can be found here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Google's recent SERP rotations - What's going on ??

The topic has been kicking around the SEO forums for over a week.

Google's organic search results have been changing.  Not once or twice but many times over the past 2 weeks.  Not little changes ... Some are BIG changes.

Websites and blogs that have enjoyed number 1 or 2 positions for years are seeing their positions challenged (and a few are getting a little loud ?!).

I remember once seeing a classified ad on Craigslist for an in-house SEO.  It read "must be able to reverse engineer Google ranking algorithm".  I, for one, want to me that guy (or gal)!

Two reports in the past week have shown Google's market share (in search) getting even bigger.  One showed 69 per cent and the other 75 per cent. There's no other way to describe it.  If they're right, that's huge.

Google is getting faster and smarter.  Back in January, I pointed to hyper-indexing of some blogs (including this one).  Yes, if you search the right phrase, you'll probably find this piece has already been indexed by Google's Blog Search in about 10 minutes (or less).  I have my guesses as to why this continues.  That's all ... They're guesses.

I have no relatives or 'best buddies' at Google.  Although you may have caught a Twitter exchange between Matt Cutts and I, or spotted a comment or two from me on his blog ... we have never met, hung out, had drinks .... and I certainly don't maintain anywhere near the same relationship that he has developed with many others in the SEO space over the years.  In fact, the only thing that Matt and I have in common is that my cats do this too ?!

There was a time when Google adjusted the entire index at the same time.  It was known affectionately as the 'Google Dance' and SEO's watched it VERY closely, along with PageRank (Back then, Cutts was 'in the shadows' on the forums calling himself 'GoogleGuy' :).  I used to call SEO 'playing chess with Google'.  It was an interesting and fun challenge but nobody had the magic formula.

A few years ago, the 'dance' changed and began to rotate different spaces and geographical areas at unexpected times, and then settle within a few days.  PageRank appeared to become a less integral part of the overall ranking process.

Google's claim to fame is search.  At least for now.  They need to stay ahead of the curve and that's exactly what we're seeing.

While there have been a few missteps in the algorithm in the past, this doesn't appear to be a 'test'.  Google is changing. 

In the past two weeks, an incredible amount of information was released by Google on their search methods, both on the Official Google Blog, Cutts' blog, and elsewhere.  Did you read it?  It was all leading up to (and trying to get everyone on board before) this.

Think of it as "Help us a little ... and we'll help you".  Some discounted it.  Some didn't.  Too late??

An organic position (if you belong there) is worth a LOT of money with Google's market share.  Don't take it for granted.  Head over to Webmaster Central and take a look at where YOU are.  The tools you need are all right there.

Google, Microsoft miss - IBM hits (big) - Hello?

.... follow-up to our previous piece ...

Google, Microsoft, and IBM all reported earnings after the closing bell on Wall Street earlier this evening.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) both failed to meet 'analysts expectations', and  both stocks were down significantly in after hours trading.  As of 7:58 PM EST Google was down 7.6 per cent at 492.75.  Microsoft also was taking a hit in the after hours, down 6.1 per cent (at 8 PM ET) at 25.87.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) reported a 22 per cent increase in profit over the same time period last year, surprising  the street (in a big way).  IBM shares closed essentially flat on the day in after hours trading at 126.12 (as of 7:30 PM ET).

Update 10:30 ET:  Don't look to me to prognosticate??! :) ... but you can find a LOT of opinions in tonight's TechMeMe 10 PM edition here ... enjoy :)

GOOG and MSFT to report quarterly results today

Just a little reminder that both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) will both be reporting quarterly earnings shortly after the market close today.

Analysts are all 'over the place' (so what else is new? :) , but overall many have been lowering expectations from Google and are still expected strong results from Microsoft.

We'll see :)

Just a little heads up for you tech stock watchers (and holders). 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New version for Firefox 3 - 3.0.1 now available

Mozilla (somewhat quietly) just rolled out an update for the Firefox 3 browser.

If you haven't been automatically updated, be sure and click 'help' then 'check for updates'.

Firefox Version 3.0.1 includes several security and stability fixes.

The release notes (or complete download) can be found here.

Google Introduces Templates for Google Docs

A short time ago, Google's Valerie Blechar announced the immediate availability of the all new Template Gallery for Google Docs.

Developed in conjunction with Avery Dennison, Vertex42, TemplateZone and Visa Business, the new free feature set from Google is already very extensive and includes hundreds of templates .... from gas mileage calculators to photo albums, stock portfolio tracking, cover letters, invoices, labels, project management, and much more.

This video from Google New York's Jen and her fiance Jeff shows an example of the wedding planner template and online collaboration:

You can visit the template gallery here, or start using it right now from within your Google Docs account.

Updated 9 PM ET with new information from the Official Google Docs Blog and the Official Google Blog

Rewards for Demographics continued

Yesterday, we noted that Microsoft was giving away gasoline to 'find out who you are'  in the small business space.  An initiative in direct demographics.

It appears AOL (which is still very much being talked about as a takeover target), wants to know who you are as well.

Enter, sponsored by AOL, where you can earn points towards American Airlines tickets, AOL credits, and even PayPal.

Gone are the days when you have to fill out forms to use AOL.

With more and more privacy safeguards being deployed on the Internet and society in general becoming more mobile, it seems more companies now want to determine their demographics directly, as opposed to relying on ISP's, credit agencies, and / or other sources.

If you participate in any of these websites, it may be a good idea to read the fine print to see if you're going to get bombarded with e-mails and/or direct mail, and if it's not obvious, make sure you're dealing with a real website.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Microsoft : Win 5000 gallons of gas

In it's latest overture to small business, Microsoft sent a targeted e-mail message to numerous small business owners this afternoon.

The e-mail takes you to this page where you can enter your business information and have a go at winning 5000 gallons of gasoline.

The new campaign has be dubbed "Bump the Slump" and even has it's own URL.

No word on whether the e-mail was send elsewhere in Liters :)

WordPress 2.6 - Tyner is here

Aaron Brazell was on close 'WordPress Watch' on Friendfeed last night and as early as midnight (Pacific), some had found the download and were upgrading to the latest version, released one month early, WorldPress 2.6 .

Aaron and has been following the development through the betas and to the first release candidate and is a great resource here.

Matt Mullenweg made the official announcement on the WordPress blog, and as I write this, WordPress 2.6 is now available from the front page of and also as a one-button update.

I did one a short time ago and it was seem less (Not this blog. which is on Google's Blogger platform).

This is a significant upgrade with numerous improvements and new features and has gone through an extensive trial of debugging.

Who's Tyner?  McCoy Tyner, a jazz pianist  that WordPress chose to honor with this release.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The new landscape and SEO and Tech Daily

As some of you know, things have gotten a little busy around here.
I'm ramping-up to 'do my thing' again soon in the SEO space (hopefully :).

In the meantime, there are now more of you now reading this blog than ever before and the subscription rate has come off the plateau, and is now climbing again.

I suppose some of it came last week when Mike Fruchter wrote this blog post (unexpectedly) and a few of us literally saw an increase of several hundred Friendfeed followers.  (If I haven't followed you back yet, I'm getting there ... it's a process :).  There was also this mention in the 'new' Industry Standard last week (which I haven't thanked the author for yet?!) ... of course, this guy unexpectedly dealt us another mention.

Much of this came as I was headed for a brief family vacation in New York City, and then after 2 days of no posts, Hacker News picked up this 1 month old piece, and much to my surprise, gave us the largest single day of unique users in the blogs history on Sunday.  Sure, TechCrunch had mentioned the awesome power of Hacker News' front page ..... but ... ugh ... wowza?!

For the first time in years, I'm starting to understand how so many bloggers have a hard time keeping their ego in their pockets ... (You'll NEVER see that here.  Just real stuff.  Period).

So, for those that are new to this place, a little explanation on how it works.

Blog posts usually consist of unique items you may not have heard about elsewhere, commentary, and stuff that I just find cool .... like Mona.  (Yes, a Friendfeed 'discovery' for me).  Follow her.  You'll laugh a lot.

A few times a day, our Google Shared Feed selectively picks out some GREAT pieces on SEO and SEM  (from both SEO veterans and also 'newer people' that just have some great ideas).  The shared feed also shares some commentary by others, news items, and more.  There is no 'I don't like this guy' stuff.  It's the content that matters.

Finally, the blogroll here is updated monthly to reflect a cross-section of SEO and Social Networking Experts, as well as people that are consistantly bring important Internet news and Internet Marketing news,  and commentary to the table.

Despite an upcoming change in my personal profile just a bit, this place will still be here....
....and ... just thanks to all of you, for your ongoing confidence and appreciation.  For me, that's what it's all about.


Yahoo adds ticker to real time stock quotes

As the headlines continued this morning about Yahoo's most recent 'No Thank You' to Microsoft on Friday, it was interesting to see that those that have stayed on board at Yahoo! are still very much innovating.

Since this stock war on Yahoo! began, numerous new services, betas, as well as content and advertising deals have continued to roll-out.

While some of Yahoo's big names have already exited stage right, others continue to support the latest Yang / Decker initiative.

It wasn't that long ago that Google, along with CNBC and a few others announced free real-time stock quotes.  (Yahoo and AOL were actually first in delivering concise easy-to-read streaming stock quote pages).

The latest Yahoo addition is a ticker bar at the top of Yahoo Finance (after you enter your first ticker symbol) that simply automates and updates, as you enter each new stock, saving you the time of switching pages.

Just a new cool tool, that at least I hope will stick around :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Look out Twitter - Pownce launches new Desktop App

A short time ago, Pownce unleashed the latest version of Pownce Desktop (2.0 Alpha).

This release adds new features, and a much improved user interface.

Embedded audio and video, pagination (longer history) friend search and more.

Pownce's desktop app uses the 'lightweight' Adobe Air 1.1 platform.

I test-drove the new release for a bit shortly after the release.

While I usually prefer web interfaces to desktop apps (in most cases), this app rocks!

Check it out here.

Great weekend all!


iPhone Mania - Chapter 2 - Updated

Well, today's the day.

Yes, if you want be the first on your block to have the new Apple iPhone 3G, you're standing online in front of an Apple store right now.

In just a few hours (assuming there aren't any activation problems ?!), we'll see posts all over the blogosphere "Sent from my iPhone 3g".  Cool.

The good news.  This time they got it right.  The phone is cheaper with a contract, and they won't have to lower the price in two weeks.

The real good news.  America is joining a 'worldwide standard' (Remember the metric system attempt?! :).  Most of the rest of the world operates cellular on the primary 3G frequencies, so now, we have a versatile popular phone (there are a few others out there) that should work worldwide.

The bad news, a glance at the AT&T coverage map in the US seems to indicate that the 3G speed will still only work in major metropolitan areas and known 'tech regions'.  There has also been some doubt as to whether or not the network will be able to handle the volume it if all the phones are sold.  We'll see.

Hey... If you're online, have fun!  It's a beautiful day and I promise not to tell your boss that you're not sick.

...but keep an eye on that guy next to you with the cameraphone :)

Update 8:30 PM ET:  Did he say activation problems ?  Robert Scoble makes a good point here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Traveling ? - Try Flickr !

Having spent over five years in tourism and hospitality online marketing, I can honestly say that most of the large review sites are pretty bad.  They have been, and still are.

There are two simple reasons.

1) Human nature.
A traveler is MUCH more likely to post a bad review (if they've had a bad trip), than taking the time to post positive comments ... when they arrive home smiling.

2) Access.
Regardless of the site (now more than ever with a downturn in leisure travel), many hotel companies, large and small, are there.  You may not see it, and it's certainly not all of them, but quite a few are 'writing their own reviews'.

Here's a novel idea that may seem obvious.

Go the Flickr and search your destination.  Check the date of the photos.  See if there are any comments. 

In most cases, the 'space invaders' haven't arrived there yet.

Give it a spin and see if it works for you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Brief: FeedRoom sees additional 12M in funding

In what is becoming a (very) crowded field, The FeedRoom, one of the original Internet video delivery platforms (for media companies and corporate communications), today announced $12 Million (US) in new capital financing.

Participating were New Spring Capital, Velocity Equity Partners and BEV Capital.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Google gets 'another life' - Lively is here

In a surprise product launch a short time ago, Google entered yet another online space.

Google Lively Beta is here.  Not a limited beta with a waiting period.  The service, that came a surprise to many, has premiered 'live on launch'.

The announcement was made by Google Labs on the Official Google Blog a short time ago in a piece titled "Be who you want on the web pages you visit".  The virtual interactive experience takes the concept of virtual worlds to the next level as 'rooms' will be able to be embedded into existing blogs and websites.

The Google intro video is below:

The 'virtual online worlds' market that has been dominated for some time by Second Life.

We'll post some web references to in-depth reviews as they begin to appear tonight and tomorrow.

(now below)

Here's a few more perspectives from other blogs on Lively:



Search Engine Land

Google Blogoscoped 



and a whole bunch more here :) 

Update 5 9:45 PM AM Tuesday July 9

Internet Advertising - The next chapter

The first generation of bloggers (that were 'blogging for money') for the most part, had two choices.  Google's Adsense or one of the affiliate networks.

The landscape is changing.

Bloggers are seeking direct advertisers.  Analytics are now concise and can be easily e-mailed to a potential advertiser or sponsor.

Many early and current bloggers work 12-15 hours a day writing, marketing and networking (Really!). 
They don't want to guess what this month's paycheck is going to look like anymore.

There is also growing monetization of RSS feeds.

With the advent and growth of feed sharing, what was once a secondary income is now significantly larger  (and so are the ads).

What's not being seen (yet) are numerous advertisers now in this space, studying relatively inexpensive ways of driving traffic.  They don't want to outsource.  They want to see first hand where their business is coming from, and, in a soft economy, build their own networks and 'deal direct'.

For many media buyers, large and small, it's become an ongoing assignment.

Adsense and the affiliate networks won't suffer.  Websites and blogs will use them for a long time.  More will appear every day.  There will always be advantages for some to 'outsource'.

More mature publications (websites, blogs, etc. with a significant following) will start to notice the shift to direct buys as advertisers begin to approach them.

Google's recent shift to it's DoubleClick product wasn't a coincidence.

It's part of the evolving convergence of traditional and Internet media.

Edited July 8 PM

Monday, July 7, 2008

A new kind of (Mini) Venture Capital

A couple of days ago, Jeremiah Owyang visited this blog and commented, "Friendfeed Integration - Brilliant".

The fact is, I had nothing (or very little) to do with it.

About a month or so ago, Louis Gray posted a note to Friendfeed.

"How much do I have to pay someone to create a Friendfeed integration script that works with Blogger".  There was already one for WordPress, but no Blogger.

It was a good approach.  With LOTS of brilliant coders (young and 'older') on Friendfeed.
Shortly thereafter, Hutch Carpenter matched the offer.

It didn't take too long before Pat Hawks was working on it (I think he probably would have done it anyway, but there's nothing like a couple of bucks to motivate an ambitious young mind!).

Watching the threads go by, it was pretty apparent that everyone wanted the 'likes' included, and, a lot of people were watching.

After a couple of revisions, and an  ongoing discussion on his website, Pat delivered.

The adoption rate was almost instantaneous.

Many had already realized they were getting more comments on Friendfeed than on their own blogs.  In fact, Hutch has a discussion ongoing today about this.

I implemented the code here a couple of weeks ago.  It worked ... but it wasn't perfect.  The 'fix' was simple (but I didn't know it).

Pat visited the site and used Disqus to send me the 'fix' (Note: I didn't ask him.  He's obviously proud of what he did and wants it to look right everywhere it appears).

So we have Private Equity, Venture Capital and now, what I'm going to dub, 'Enablers'.

It's a great idea in this context.  It worked once and it can work again.

Why not think about what you need and try it.  You may be helping to support a student?

(Don't ask Louis.  He'd probably do it ... but he just had twins! :).

Welcome to User Generated Financing!

Whose next?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Now it's real - NBC to acquire the Weather Channel

As some of you know, I'm no stranger to the weather space.  As it looked more and more likely that the Weather Channel units of Landmark Communications were going to be acquired, I posted a piece here on May 30.  Have a read.  Most of the 'juice' and background to this story is there.

Behind the scenes of the weather media landscape, and why this deal, just made official by NBC, is so interesting. 

For those that are interested, or are 'weather fanatics' like me, I maintain a modest directory of weather resources on the Internet here. It's a legacy site, recently updated. A collection of bookmarks (the old-fashioned way :).

Weather on the Internet has gotten MUCH better over the past few years. Especially, the imagery!

The weather is always there.

For many people, it's the first thing they look at when they wake up. There's no doubt that the Weather Channel is the predominant brand, and a good deal for NBC.

My current favorite is AccuWeather's Professional.  Great stuff from a great team.

(.....and they Twitter and Plurk too :)

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend


edited July 7 AM

Reuters gets it. Blog integration and making money

In the past we've focused on various media companies that 'get it'.

That space is changing so fast, you need a team of people and computers to keep up (and still make money).

Reuters (by far) is this month's .... 'They get it'.

It only takes a quick look at a few pages to see why.

Most already know about their deal with Blogburst.  The Pluck editors do a great job.  Click the technology tab and, at the bottom, you'll see occasional stories from here, as well as regular entries from 'larger places' such as Mashable, Techcrunch, and many others.

They give away a LOT of video ... "Here's the embed code".

The latest addition is the one that puts Thomson Reuters over the top.  The Reuters partnership with Yahoo on You Witness News.

Sure, CNN has iReport.  Everywhere you look, news channels invite you to send in your photos.  Do they PAY YOU?

To some people, the 'pay me' part is important, plus, where else can you get this kind of worldwide syndication with attribution. 

Yahoo or not, this approach by Reuters takes user generated content to the next level.

They give you stuff for free, buy your stuff and sell licensed prints, etc.  The mix looks extremely good.

The story of course, will be told in their next annual report.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Two more major sites get friendly with FriendFeed

In the past two days, two major Web 2.0 websites added integration with Friendfeed.

Wednesday, it was Read Write Web adding FriendFeed integration to it's comments.

Wednesday night, Mahalo's Jason Calacanis was part of an interactive conversation with a few people on Friendfeed, explaining the website's new open editing feature.  The thread went on for some time and it appears Mahalo's founder was either surprised, impressed, or both.

Late Yesterday, the Mahalo Blog announced that you can now add Friendfeed to your Mahalo profile.

As for me, at least for now ( and the foreseeable future), FriendFeed remains my daily start-up page.
I'm pretty convinced, this is just the beginning :)

Have a GREAT 4th all

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Microsoft updates SteadyState to Version 2.5

We first reviewed Microsoft's new small network workstation shared access tool, 'SteadyState' just a few weeks ago.

Earlier today, the tool was upgraded to SteadyState version 2.5 and now supports Windows XP (SP2 and SP3) as well as Vista.

Formerly known as the Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP, SteadyState delivers a (very) easy to use interface for small group administrators to manage permissions on individual workstations and more.

The utility is a true time saver and can be deployed easily and quickly across small and medium size networks.

The new version of SteadyState can be downloaded here, as well as a new handbook which can be found here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bye, Bye Expedia - Hello Orbitz for MSN

MSN users in the US and the UK will no longer be seeing Expedia as the portal's travel partner.

Up until this morning, Expedia has always been the primary travel provider to Microsoft's MSN.

Microsoft has inked a deal with Orbitz for MSN Travel.

Expedia was initially was owned by Microsoft and later became part of IAC /Interactive, and more-recently was spun off into it's own IAC-controlled group which includes, TripAdvisor, Hotwire and others.

Orbitz announced the deal late yesterday which includes (Their brand in the UK).

Staff edit Jul 2 PM

HooSetMicro: The saga continues

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft is still in talks with several partners to acquire and distribute the assets of Yahoo!.  Time-Warner and News Corp are mentioned in the article, which was posted to the WSJ online edition late Tuesday evening.  The report went on to say that talks were preliminary and were unlikely to result in a deal for Yahoo.

Earlier Tuesday, Microsoft confirmed they have reached an agreement to acquire San-Francisco-based Powerset.  Powerset recently launched with a search of Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

MSN going social in Europe

Note: Due to several e-mails regarding the excessive load-time of the video that appeared here, it has been removed (but was a great test while it lasted ).

Google to begin to crawl and read Adobe Flash files

There's been a lot of frustration among web designers about Google's inability to read Adobe Flash files.

Their clients wanted a new, exciting, and rich media experience for their websites.

Flash has been the platform of choice to render the new multi-media pages.

In many cases, the SEO teams immediately tried to stop what is generally known as 'legacy migration'.  The fact was, that while Google could index the Flash files themselves, they couldn't read them, potentially causing search engine ranking problems.

This forced ongoing compromises between those in the SEO groups and those doing web design.

Earlier this evening, Google announced the long awaited initiative to 'read' Flash.  Adobe has agreed to provide their Adobe Player technology to both Google and Yahoo! and work with the search companies to begin to index the contents of Flash files.

The move will put Flash out in front of Microsoft's relatively new rich media competitor Silverlight, as more and more  businesses and individuals begin to realize the importance of organic search engine optimization.

Updated 11:30 AM ET - An excellent clarification of how this will work can be found on Ryan Stewart's blog here.