Thursday, July 30, 2009

Microsoft and comScore? Introducing RF Planner

A short time ago, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Advertising and comScore are entering into a collaborative agreement "to bring new digital insights to traditional media planners".

In all honestly, I probably wouldn't have noticed this had it not been for a very subtle link in an e-mail from the Microsoft adCenter team.

A few moments later, it appeared as a full blown Microsoft press release which can be found here.

One day after the Yahoo-Microsoft search deal announcement, Microsoft announced it is developing what they are calling the 'Reach and Frequency Planner' or 'RF Planner'.

A new digital media buyers' tool which apparently will use comScore's data to measure ROI.

Could they be looking (directly) at Google's Ad Planner or ... Google's newer product Ad Manager ?

Updated links July 30 4 PM ET

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Official - Microsoft to Power Yahoo! Search

After almost a year of talks, at one point with Microsoft seeking to acquire all of Yahoo!, word came a short time ago that the deal that has been hinted at for the past week, is done.

Microsoft's new Bing search engine will be the default provider to Yahoo! Search and Microsoft acquires a 10 years license to Yahoo's search technology.

Microsoft and Yahoo! just released simultaneous press releases here and here.  The companies have also set up a joint informational website here.

The Microsoft Press Release has videos from both Steve Ballmer and Bartz with links to more. 

The timing of the announcement was obviously set for the US stock market open as a conference call is set for 5:30 AM PT today.

You can follow Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) here and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) here.

Update: A complete transcript of this morning's conference call has been posted here.

Update 3: Yahoo has re-released their initial Press Release (adding the term 'Multimedia' and more) here.

Update 2 Wednesday, July 29 12 AM ET (Image from

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sobees - Twitter and Facebook in Silverlight 3

Switzerland-based deskNET SA has been testing various versions of their Sobees online social interface as well as their social client app bDule for several months now in Alpha.

While numerous others have similar products permeating the growing Twitter API client landscape, in this space most notably Tweetdeck and Seesmic, Sobees has garnered a devoted early adopter audience with their products, with reviews appearing on blogs again over the past few weeks.

Earlier today, Sobees went to version alpha.  The online product, which already embraces multiple Twitter accounts and url shorteners, has added optional automatic signature for Tweets, and Facebook integration is now onboard.

An updated real-time search, powered by OneRiot, Twitter, and Friendfeed is now fully functional (and somewhat fascinating).

You'll need Microsoft Silverlight 3 (available for both Windows and Mac) installed to try this latest version which can be found here.

Seesmic recently released (then updated) their online client to excellent reviews by many. 

Is Sobees a competitor?

Considering the company is still calling it an 'alpha', this recent addition to the online social client scene bears some watching.

More information can be found in today's Sobees blog post here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Google Blog Search in Real Time (or close)

If you go to Google Blog Search (this could be experimental?!) and look to the right you will now see Google Trends at the top (identical to our gadget at the right) and then, just below it ... you'll see blog headlines delayed just a few minutes.

While it is NOT real-time, it is a running ticker of recent blog posts from all sorts of blogs (and not yet by category) ... very similar to what one might see on Twitter or Friendfeed a few minutes earlier, depending on who you are following.

With no 'announced' deal with Twitter, it appears that Google (which has been indexing many blogs within minutes of publication for well over a year), is recognizing that beyond 'trends', the real-time web machine is starting to hit home with a lot of people, in a variety of industries, in a big way.

I refreshed it a few times today and it's NOT limited to blogs that appear in Google News.  It is a very diverse feed.

Is it a challenge? An experiment? ... or just a new (or relatively new) feature?

Will it go real-time?

No doubt from comments made in the past by Google executives, they certainly recognize the importance of the latest trend on the 'net (Real Time).

The question now is how, when, and where will they deploy it.

Updated July 25 2 AM ET

Remember the Blogroll?

Those of you that have been following this blog for some time may remember when it had a blogroll that I used to rotate about once a month.

Why rotate?

There was an ever-increasing amount of new authors that were bringing interesting and cutting-edge technologies to the SEO and Internet landscape.

I discontinued the blogroll some months ago as it became apparent that it would take a full page to list all the websites and blogs I read and wanted to share.

So what's with the new list at the lower right??

As part of the makeover of Google Reader, you can now create groups of rss feeds and share them.

Somewhat similar to sharing individual posts (that will continue), this feature allows you to group feeds, share them via Google Reader or present them with a gadgets (as I've done, for now, to see if you guys like it).

In other words. Want to subscribe to 10 or 15 feeds that I do?

It's as easy as hitting the subscribe button right there on the widget.

The 'sharing' evolution (and well as the Google ecosystem) continues.

Hope you like it, and look for (many) more links in the months to come.

Warning ... this blog will always be on it :)

Great weekend all ....

..... and thanks for all the notes and your support.

Update: I have discontinued the module at right mostly due to the fact that you never know what someone will publish .... You can still follow (or subscribe to) my shared Google Reader feed at the right. (Was a good experiment ... needs some work :)

SEO is not Voo Doo

Those of you that read this blog know that I try to 'get out there' at least once a year (if not more often) and feel the pulse of the tech and SEO landscape ... and what people and businesses are doing on the Internet.

While I probably should be pitching a speaking gig at an SEO conference or traveling and networking more, I choose to see what small businesses and individuals are doing.  How they're doing.

Regardless of YOUR mission, face-to-face wins the race.  That hasn't changed.  If the economy's got you down, lose the tube and get out there and network!  

My latest tour, a localized 'mini-exploration' was somewhat disheartening.

There's an incredible amount of bad information out there.

If nothing else, read this:

There is nothing wrong with 'White Hat' SEO.  Why else would Google, Microsoft (Bing) and Yahoo attend major SEO and online marketing conferences?  NOT just to sell their PPC products.

Reality.  The Internet continues to grow at light speed.  The trends change and so do the rankings.

Google's algorithm for ranking is mindboggling awesomeness.....

Think about it for just one minute.  How many search phrases are possible?  When was the last time you got a totally lame result on Google?

That's awesomeness, years of tweaking, and it's also the reason they have over 60% of the search market.  People Google-it because it works.  Relevant (not skewed) results is Google's No. 1 reason for dominance in the search space.

.... and they want to keep it that way ..... as potential long-term challengers like Bing are working hard to reach a similar level of relevancy.

Ex-Googler Vanessa Fox posted this piece last week to Nine by Blue.  My in-person reaction to various small business people over the past two weeks was even more extreme.

There are a lot of companies shooting themselves in the foot.  My take is it's the ones that either have the wrong impression of SEO, or have been fed a lot of bad information by a webmaster who 'dabbles' by reading an occasional blog.

You don't learn SEO in a week or from a FREE CD (plus $12.95 shipping and handling :).

Google WELCOMES SEO.  The growth of Webmaster Central (which Fox founded while at Google), appearances and blog posts by Google's spam buster Matt Cutts, and lots of information provided is saying to everyone, very simply, that despite an awesome little 'bot' (or 'bots'), Google welcomes your help in discovery if you truly belong in the top-10 (or top-5?) for a specific search word or phrase.

The landscape has changed A LOT in the past 2 years.

So what's the answer?

Most SEO's price to the market but reality dictates that some will overcharge.  There is no 'BBB' for SEO's and like any other industry, there are a lot of phony's out there.

There was a (wrong!) impression floating out there for a while that I was undercutting the market.  There are others as well.  We were simply realizing that in these economic times, while SEO is actually a growth industry, that there are many that need help (now!) and can only afford so much.  There are a few of us out there.  It's just our way of giving back and getting some satisfaction at the same time.

Having wrapped my head so tightly around this stuff for as long as I can remember, there is simply no greater satisfaction than seeing a good (or great) company prosper because they did it right (which not only takes in SEO, but social networking and other factors as well).

It disturbs me to no end (and several others have written about this recently as well) when some IT rocket star sells a package that gets a good company penalized beyond recognition on Google.  Yes, there are penalties for trying to trick the big G ... and it's not easy to recover from one ... despite what you may have read.

Network.  Don't just put an ad on Craigslist.  If you can afford it, go to an SEO convention or local meet-up.  Learn BEFORE you execute.

I think most would agree that a combination of SEO, PPC and the right social networking mix is a winning formula.  It IS entirely possible, depending on YOUR business and the space it plays in, that a majority of your visitors (potential customers) can come from organic SEO.  (IE: Your rank on Google).

Take the free CD .... and recycle it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Windows 7 WILL be Welcomed by Enterprise Users

I rarely if ever disagree with Walt Mossberg ... and while I think his recent piece on AllThingsD hit some important points about transitioning to Windows 7, overall it's my (humble :) opinion that we will see quick adoption of the new Microsoft operating system by large and small companies as well as individuals.

After yesterday's announcement on the Windows Team Blog that Windows 7 had in fact been released to manufacturing, I took the opportunity to run the various MS compatibility tools across 2 networks, one large and one small.

While both networks had boxes that flagged incompatibility, I was able to force older legacy drivers to get those boxes up and running.  I even got this nasty box goin'!  It wasn't rocket science.  While I don't recommend this (yet), it will be a factor in what people, companies, and industry will be looking at the end of this year.

The point is very simply ... upfront and ongoing cost vs. long haul reliability, efficiency and ease of use. 

Despite the times, large companies haven't really changed that much.  They're looking every day at efficiency.

The best example is the 30% or so of the Fortune 500 that are already all over SEO and Social Networking.  Many have completely relaunched complex websites ... and it's working.

Windows 7 offers a host of features that will work smarter and require significantly less calls to the IT team.

Hardware is at bargain basement prices where that becomes necessary and by the time Windows 7 is actually delivering, forcing hardware (unlike Vista) should be a lot less necessary.

Application compatibility may be the only stumbling block for some, particularly in the case of proprietary programs.

This operating system is a quantum leap.  I agree with those that have said that "it's what Vista should have been" but Vista's failures were largely due to a lack of compatible drivers and firmware. 

With a free public Beta and now the RC in the wild for some time, as well as a host of companies preparing to develop for it (Check out the latest list here), the ROI should become clear for those thinking about deploying the product.

I'm betting that expensive legacy service contracts by large companies will be terminated and replaced by either outsourced or in house IT 'uptime' and 'tune-up' teams

Those contracts are generally very expensive and many of them, due to economic-driven delays in the replacement cycle, are supporting old, somewhat dying hardware.

It'll be the first or second quarter of next year before anyone gets a good read on this and Microsoft's profits will also depend on migration to newer Office products (and potentially Bing), but it's a safe bet, than when there is an economic turn, tech in general should be one of the leading indicators.  Windows 7 will be a part of that landscape.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cool Twitter Mosaic Tool. Are YOU here?

If there's one blogger than consistently comes up with new and cool stuff, it's Orli Yakuel (GO2WEB20).

A blog post by Orli earlier today led me to this site which I though was pretty cool (and will be cooler if this works and Twitter's API allows this to keep working?!).  You can read Orli's complete post with a lot of  other cool stuff from here.

Here's 'a few' of my Twitter followers.

Are you here?