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News-Google War: The Battle of Real Estate

By | Google News, Search News | No Comments

The News-Google War (so-named by me because of the confusion of the phrase Google-News), is a well known battle between the big newspaper conglomerates and Google. The strangeness of the battle lies in the fact that the News conglomerates are both the customers and enemies of Google, a position that you would think would give them a lot of clout. And so they were hoping…but it is turning out that Google is not to be halted in its march towards Monopoly, and not only have they fought against some of their biggest sponsors once – now they are doing it again.

The reasons behind the war are many. The first battle, The Battle of Content, (emphasis on first syllable), was waged mainly in the US, by the big newspapers who were feeling that their news was being devalued, and plagiarised, due to dissemination from listing in Google. The rub for them was, did they want to block Google from their site, and thus lose millions of visits? Obviously they didn’t.

With newspapers across America being shut down, due to not being financially viable, it quickly became apparent that the business model of the newspapers was becoming obsolete, and they had to take a page out of Google’s book and move to the future. What they need to do is redefine their business strategy to encompass the threat of plagiarism and free views.

In Australia, the second battle has begun. The Battle of Real Estate.

Google Real Estate

Google has recently released Google Maps for Real Estate, where you can use the Google Map programme to search for listed properties. This development immediately raised alarm with News Limited and Fairfax, who run the domain.com.au and realestate.com.au websites. The new Google Maps application is direct competition for their real estate websites. Google creates its map listings through a free service available to all real estate representatives, including individual landlords.

Following its introduction, both Fairfax and News Limited have independently announced they would be reconsidering their generous spends on Google Ads. The biggest consideration for them would have to be the sacrifice of the large amount of traffic brought to them via Google.

While the news giants are complaining about this new development, real estate vendors and consumers seem to be considering it a good move for them, providing more information, and breaking down what was almost a duopoly in the online real estate market. It is another marketing venue for small providers, much like Google Adwords, where they can compete with the bigger players on a more even playing field.

However, the dangers of the new service will rise if it isn’t controlled properly, for example, by spammers or disreputable real estate agents and landlords. Also, the ever-present threat of the Google monopoly is a worry, if it discourages development in any of the areas it competes in, or renders it not financially viable to provide services which might otherwise be useful for consumers.

China Internet Users Hits 338 Million

By | Free tools, Internet News | No Comments

Not only does China have the largest population in the world, it now also has the most internet users in the world. China has so embraced online technology that a whopping 338 million Chinese people are internet users (according to the China Internet Network Information Center ).

To be able to understand such a huge number, note that this is 35 million more people than live in the United States and 16 times the number of people living in Australia. The number, while huge, is only 25% of the Chinese population, so of course there is a lot more room for expansion. The USA has an internet penetration of around 70%, which means China still has a long way to go.

Internet use in China is always under scrutiny – their ‘Great Firewall’ aims to suppress sensitive information, and since the riots in Western China a couple of weeks ago, Facebook has been blocked across the country. The recent Chinese Government bid to include censoring software in all PCs sold in China was met with condemnation from around the world. Years ago, Google copped abused for operating in China under the Government’s restrictive rules, but I think any Chinese person would agree with me that restricted Google is better than no Google at all.

Google isn’t the leader in the search market in China, unlike most other places. That honour goes to Baidu, and is probably due in part to the difficulty Google has in dealing with deciphering the Chinese character as much as national pride. In China, colleagues and friends advise that Google is used for more ‘serious’ searching, while Baidu is used for entertainment, such as downloading music, movies and games.

With this burgeoning internet audience comes the desire of marketers to appeal to them, and so digital marketing in China is becoming a bigger and more competitive industry with agencies springing up every day and conferences scheduled throughout the year. Optimising websites in China raises a lot of new concerns such as Baidu including ‘paid’ ads in their natural results and the Chinese love of flash and interaction. However, cracking the Chinese online market will expose you to the largest online market in the world – so I pretty much think it is worth the trouble!

New Bing Features

By | Search News | No Comments

Search Engine Bing has now added another feature to it’s search results page – excerpts from the page of each result, which can be viewed by rolling over an icon placed at the right of each entry.

Doing this helps reduce the need for clicking through on multiple entries to find what you are looking for. The feature seems to take a random grab from the page, and presents that text. It also has an “Also on this page” section, which lists menu items and links from other sections on the page.

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If you were optimising for Bing (or more likely, if Google started offering this functionality), I guess you would try and make your content overall more compelling (i.e. make just as much effort as you would for your title and description meta tags), as well as making sure links on your menu’s and to other pages were titled appropriately so they could properly inform a person on the search results page who was seeing them out of context.

Google Allowing Dodgy PPC Ads

By | PPC | No Comments

Google has been very strict with its AdWords editorial guidelines, there are rules regarding capitalisation, superlatives, grammar and spelling, even repetition! The list of their rules can be found in their learning centre, here .

But if this is the case, then how on earth did this pass muster?

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There is a specific rule on Google Adwords regarding spacing, which says:

Spacing : You should have appropriate spacing between each word and after punctuation. For example, ‘C-h-e-a-p C-l-o-t-h-e-s’ would not be allowed. Similarly, ‘Free Shipping.Buy Now’ would also not be allowed.


It is even the very first rule listed! Ads with spacing would not induce me to click on them, but they do stand out, and must be effective if people continue to do it.  I haven’t seen it so prolific with any other search than ‘Prada Sunglasses’ though, where 4 of the entries were violating the Adwords policy.

Dodgy.

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