Uncategorized - 10/36 - Digital Marketing Agency

The Yahoo Microsoft Deal – Whats going on?

By | Search News, Uncategorized | No Comments

After a long courtship, is the Microsoft/Yahoo deal finally settled? Well, nothing is ever set in stone until the fat lady sings (like how I can seamlessly mesh cliche’s?), but for now, this is how the land lies…

  • Yahoo will scrap it’s search technology and use Microsoft’s technology (front end Yahoo branded, back end Microsoft tech), in what is being termed a ’10 year search partnership’.
  • There is no boatload of cash upfront.  Yahoo will simply earn a proportion of any revenue Microsoft makes.
  • This will only apply to web, image and video searches, and aggregators that use this technology (like Yahoo news).  It will not affect things like the Yahoo directory, Yahoo answers, Delicious, Flickr, etc.
  • Microsoft’s Bing will continue on as is.
  • Changes will start in early 2010, and hopefully be all rolled out by this time next year.
  • Yahoo’s search technology will be able to be used by Microsoft (perhaps to be integrated into Bing)
  • Yahoo and Microsoft ad marketing will reach the whole Yahoo plus Bing audience.

Does this benefit consumers?  Yahoo and Microsoft say yes, because of  ‘scale’. I am not sure what that means, but there are two ways of looking at it. It could be yes if the various pieces of the ‘search’ puzzle that Microsoft and Yahoo engineers have independently come up with fit together to make something even better than their individual parts.

However, elimination of a major competitor doesn’t ‘usually’ have positive outcomes for consumers…

On the other hand, by allowing advertisers to reach the Bing and Yahoo searches using only one advertising portal saves a lot of time, is more convenient, and could help compete with Google (who of course will still have the lions share).

New (more positive) thoughts on Twitter

By | Twitter, Uncategorized | No Comments

The other day, I finally (and accidentally) discovered how Twitter can be useful for me personally. It all started on a cold, blustery Tuesday….

I was anxious, because my new addiction, Master Chef, was clashing timetable-wise with my pre-paid tickets to the Lily Allen concert in Sydney. I wanted to get to Lily Allen fairly early, because with no assigned seats, I needed to ensure I could sit down and wouldn’t have to stand with the teeny boppers.
Problem was, it was celebrity chef night on Master Chef – I didn’t want to miss it! Would Lucas get through?
Sitting in my seats at the Hordern pavillion at 7:30 I was glad I got there early to bags seats with the other ‘adults’, but I was also dying to know who won Masterchef. A quick look on my friends iPhone solved all my worries, as people were tweeting just seconds after Lucas’s victory.
Admittedly I could have waited till it got onto the MasterChef website, which would not have taken much longer, but such is the ‘youth’ of today. We want it all, we want it now, and in two seconds it will be old news. In such an environment, ‘real-time’ search engines like Twitter might just have a place. Since I am the most impatient of all, I have found a happy use for Twitter.

Sure you can’t see the most up to date news unless you know what to search for, but you can see what the zeitgeist is, by looking at the twitter trends. Right now for example, 2 of the 3 most popular twitter threads include Iran (democracy debate), which is heartening, and shows that maybe Twitterers aren’t as shallow as the non-converts might think. This pride diminishes, when you see that the second most popular thread, and the eighth as well, are on ‘John and Kate’. If you aren’t familiar (and I only am because I just stayed with my friend in the US) this is a couple from the US show John and Kate Plus Eight, and they are apparently splitting up. The fact that this gets two spots in the top 10 might insinuate a very large proportion of US users.

Another positive thing about Twitter? I only just noticed the new ability to erase Tweets you have written…great addition for those impetuous people out there (like me…).

Recycling Technology

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While this post is not really internet marketing related, I just had to post on it because it is something I am a big believer in. And while it isn’t SEO or PPC related, it is actually technology and marketing based, so maybe not so irrelevant.

I am talking about the Governments new proposed E-waste scheme, Reborn. I won’t follow my instincts and harp on about the very SEO-unfriendliness of the site, the  lack of internet marketing supporting it or the likeliness that they blew a big proportion of their marketing budget on a site that no one will ever see – because I am a big proponent of their cause.

Basically, Reborn is a Government initiative aimed at supporting the recycling of old technology. So as we get new digital tvs and computers, our old ones won’t just go on and add to landfill. While I love new technology as much as the next guy, there is always a portion of guilt – what do I do with my old one? Where will it end up? Will it EVER decompose? Could I use bits of it to build something new?

One part of this initiative is that the Government is proposing a $35 charge on new televisions which will go towards the recycling of old ones. Similar to carbon offsets for flights, it will help relieve the guilt of consumers, but unlike flight offsets, it would not be optional. This is good, because firstly, despite guilt, carbon offsets are not purchased all that often, and secondly, I am not sure if people are feeling the ‘new television’ guilt anyway.

So, if you support consumption ‘taxes’ to help minimise the effect consumerism and the rapid pace of technology has on the environment, log onto Reborn, and register your support (which means emailing Peter Garrett, sorry!).

Wolfram Alpha a Google competitor? Probably not…

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Wolfram Alpha is, according to is creators, a computational knowledge engine. Which means that unlike search engines, it doesn’t serve up web pages related to a persons search query, but rather looks to answer peoples queries from its own developed database.

Since it is basically just a very big database, it isn’t always going to have an answer to your questions, and there are some questions for which it will never be able to provide an answer at all. Unlike a search engine, which will more often than not give you something at least.

It has been introduced by some news articles as a competitor to Google, but for many reasons this is not the case. There may be room for WolframAlpha in the search universe, but it is no threat to Google.

If anything, it is a bit more like Wikipedia, as it is a work-in-progress collection of information, the difference being it answers more boring questions, like mathematical equations (whats wrong with a calculator?) and it isn’t contributed to freely by the general public.

Why won’t it take over Google? Well, once it starts getting indexed by Google, then those pages will also be up for grabs by search engines. Currently, many Wikipedia articles are now found through Google, on certain topics they are often in the top 1 or 2 position. In the future maybe Wolfram Alpha responses may also be.

The even more obvious reason why it is no threat to Google is that if there proves demand for Wolfram Alpha type information, you can rest assured that it won’t be long before Google’s engineers will be finding a way to produce the Google version – maybe even piggybacking off Wolfram Alpha itself.

A Sydney Morning Herald article contained quotes from so called ‘experts’ which touted WA as a step up from Google, but the quotes are a bit nonsensical:

For example, while Google can identify the nearest place for pizza, Wolfram Alpha is designed to tell you where to get the best pizza, Mr Pesce said.

This is not quite true – Wolfram Alpha is not designed to handle subjective queries such as ‘best’ – whereas Google at least can serve up the opinions of millions, through review sites and articles which mention the phrase ‘best pizza’.  Using Google Maps, having already saving my location previously, a search from our offices in North Sydney for “best pizza” not only shows ones that are near (and therefore relevant) but also pulls in user reviews to help me decide.  On the other hand, I tried the same query on Wolfram Alpha and recieved a page saying “Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input”.  It is early days for Wolfram Alpha, but SMH please use better examples….

Also

“Google searches are really dumb,” Dr Kay said. “They’re using simple words without knowing what they mean.” Wikipedia lists facts but can’t do anything with them. He [Dr Wolfram] can answer queries that take combinations of things across his data, which means he can answer more complex sets of questions than Google can.”

I cringed a little when I read this quote.  Google has always invested heavily in looking at how keywords interact, localisation, and intent (for instance using an algorithm to decide whether a review is positive or negative).  This is why their search results are more often than not, more relevant compared to other search engines.  Also similar to the Dr Kay’s description of Wolfram Alpha using multiple combinations of things across its data, is how Google pulls in images, news, videos, blogs, maps and more into its results.  

I will say it is not bad – I have enjoyed looking at statistical differences between Sydney & Shanghai (though this information was pulled from Wikipedia) and if I was still at Uni or high school I would probably use it for quick info – maybe an iPhone app should be in the pipelines to help settle arguments in the pub….

So, in my humble opinion this is yet another site that while taking an interesting approach, is unlikely to topple Google in the near future.  It is good for finding out information about random things that are unlikely to appear anywhere else on the web (eg SMH’s opening line of “temperature in Beijing when Kevin Rudd was born).  In the end it is more of a competitor for Wikipedia – but really needs to grow substantially for that to really be the case.

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