Google Products Search Looking Good

Just in time for the holiday season, Google products has tightened up their “Products” search. In the past things seemed a bit scattered and not completely logical. My guess is that some of the experimentation with Google Base has led them to include certain fields. The ability to add your own fields to a Google Base product gives them quite a bit of information regarding important fields for particular item types.

google products search interface

Google Products might just be best suited as a mobile application. This new search interface leads me to believe that it is going more in that direction.

Skype Mobile Phone

Skype mobileThe next 12 months will be incredibly interesting in the phone market. It seems like there are a number of folks who will be entering the space. Two of the biggest names are Google (GOOG) and Skype (owned by Ebay). The entries are not confirmed, but ask a cell phone tech company, in the valley, if they are working on anything for a Google phone and you will probably see some tight lips, or hear “no comment”. Of course a couple of beers later during an “off the record” conversation should reveal much more.

Techcrunch has a nice write up about the Skype plans.

Is this a case of the ‘grass is greener’? My bet is that this is a case where many people are starting to see the capability that will come with something like WiMax. With the money behind it (Intel), this will be a reality.

It appears that the Skpe phone is gearing toward functions like no cost PTT (push to talk) to other Skype users. Logical.

In any case, I have to believe that this will be good for the end user. Better hardware and more competition. What to choose… iPhone, gPhone, ePhone?

DirectoryM Pitching Backlinks and SEO Value

Is the value of a backlink going to diminish at some point? Paid links are frowned upon by Google (just read for more) and yet we have major companies pitching the value in selling you a back link.

DirectoryM is one such company. I received an e-mail a short time ago that pitched a backlink and the SEO value that it would provide your site. Link Selling.

Contextual Backlinks
Single Region: $9.95 per month
All Regions: $147.75 per month

These premium links are designed for maximum SEO benefit through:

* Contextual Focus
* Regional Orientation
* Trusted Branded Directory Origination
* Flexible 30-character display… Match the display link text to the key word/phrase of your choosing
* Direct link… Link directly to any page on your website

Will this hurt DirectoryM? How about Businessweek or BizJournals. This is a clever way for the companies who use the DirectoryM listings ( and to name a couple) to insulate themselves from link sales. At least that is what you might think. At the end of the day, a web site is responsible for their own site.

Has Google Jumped the Shark?

Tired old line, isn’t it? It is really a question for investors, fans, etc. Have they jumped the shark? By Google jumping the shark, I don’t mean that they are suddenly a bad company, or going to start doing things poorly. I am really referring to the fact that the unique company that is doing things differently might not be the case anymore.

Google renames Froogle to Google (GOOG) Product Search. Why? This sounds very Microsoft’ish (MSFT). Are they trying to bury it? Trying to make it more corporate sounding so that large companies can embrace the possibility of the product feeds? I certainly have more questions than answers.

What tipped me on this one? Rumors of Google buying Monster Worldwide (MNST). This is very “me too” or Yahoo’ish (YHOO). Is going to jump on the “me too” bandwagon (rather redundant)? If so, Robert Half International (RHI) should be the next target.

What is the next phase of acquisitions for the big 3, I mean big 4 networks… err search companies? Feels like the old network game doesn’t it. Then along came cable and Fox fit in. is the online version of Fox. I have always like their search technology. Can be harder to game and therefore a better result. It will be interesting to see if the advertising campaign of 2007 will help deliver.

Who wants $65. Hurry up.

I am about to apply for an additional Advanta Business credit card, so if you are an active member of the Advanta affiliate program, I will apply through your affiliate link. Advanta Business Credit Card

I am not necessarily going to use the first person who comes along. I want someone who I have crossed paths with in the past, or someone who has a site that I respect for the effort that is put into it.

Leave a comment, or contact me directly to point me to your Advanta Business Credit Card link. I’ll confirm once applied.

Google Testing Creative in Adsense

Google seems to have been doing a bit of testing in their Adsense layout and branding. This is probably the most subdued one that I have seen and I wanted to provide a snapshot of it.


Google Adsense Snapshot

I didn’t alter the image. That washed out, greyscale ‘Ads by Google” is what displayed on the page. Notice that the block also fails to display the “advertise on this site”. Yes, the site that I clipped this from is enrolled.

Microsoft Combines Search, Ad Development Teams

I am quite the Microsoft (MSFT) basher at times. The news that they are combining their ad and search teams isn’t exactly earth shaking.

I just wish they would learn one thing.
When you are trying to tap the consumer market, understand that you have to have fast, clean, and tight code.

Obviously there are exceptions, but keeping this in mind will help.

A great example of this is Microsoft’s mapping. It is a dog on a typical PC. Are they just way ahead of the curve? Maybe. The maps are awesome. In case you aren’t aware, they don’t just have overhead shots from an satellite (as all other map services do), they offer angled pictures from 4 different directions from an airplane. The quality is terrific.

Enough with the praise. The app is a dog! I don’t use it in my day to day and because of that I will not migrate to to discover the other services. You have to give me a reason to come back and then prove to me that your services are as good or better than your competition.  They might be, but I wouldn’t know. I didn’t have the patience. And when I say me or I, I mean Mr. and Mrs. consumer.

Yahoo tends to strike a balance. There is Google (GOOG) at one end, Microsoft at the other, and Yahoo (YHOO) in the middle.

Who uses MS Live? Anyone? MSFT, you need to win us over with something basic, clean, and fast. After that you can give us the goods and we might just use them.

Googles Goes CPA

Cost per acquisition from Google (GOOG)? Wow.

Let’s do the math here. “We have the technology, we can re-build…”. You middle agers will get my 70’s reference here.

Seriously though. This is completely logical. How many of us have already seen similar ads at Yahoo. A banner that expands on mouseover that includes a response form in the banner. The traditional goal in advertising is to bring people to your site so that you can make your pitch in your own way and build your brand in a way that you have control. With a CPA (cost per acquisition) advertisement, “I don’t care” if they hit my site, I don’t care…if they get my brand, I don’t care… about anything other than the customer acquisition that took place. Once that submission has taken place I will then have the opportunity to get my message across, do some branding, etc. The form is all about a conversion to be able to reach the customer.

I read the news at Businessweek and I found it a bit funny that the article mentions Yahoo and the progress that they are making with Panama. The writer doesn’t even touch on the fact that YHOO has been doing these CPA ads on their site for some time. Google is getting credit for…, here is the headline “Google’s Out to Remake the Ad World Again” and Yahoo is getting credit for… “But Yahoo’s new Panama is a major step forward”. They missed the fact that Yahoo has already been out there.

Why would they miss the fact that Yahoo is doing something similar. Is Yahoo billing these on a CPM basis? If so, that is a major undersell. If you have ever been a buyer of leads, you know that the cost gets a little sick. And by “a little sick” I mean very high.

Is this an effort to help stem click fraud? Good luck. Pay a content distributor based on a CPA and you can be assured that they will do their best to get those forms filled out. There is a fine line between someone saying “not interested anymore” and hanging up, and the guy who says “I never filled anything out”. One is a bogus lead, the other is… well, maybe a bogus lead. If I am paying the high CPA, I call them both bogus. The reality is that the aggregator, in this case Google, will have to make that determination. If there are 3 people competing in a space, all running CPA campaigns, don’t think that a content site won’t self enter some data in every offer. If you have been involved in the operations of a lead aggregator, with an affiliate program, you will know what I mean. Self entry is a common method a smaller affiliate will use in an effort to game the system. They will collect the data on their own forms and then self enter on as many affiliate sites as they can.

There are issues for both Google and the advertisers. Let’s assume that this is an insurance quote provider. Let’s pick AAA insurance. If AAA is paying a CPA price of $15-$25 and John Doe submits a request, do they still pay? Lead aggregators have a credit system in place so that the buyers of the leads can request credits for bogus submissions. At some point there is probably manual intervention needed. With something that could take on such scale, there are bound to be service issues. Perhaps they can put a system in place to automate the process. Companies like Google don’t do these things without thinking these issues through and addressing them. They can’t take the little guy mentality of “we’ll address it if it becomes an issue”.

I get back to the fact that YHOO has been doing this for some time. Does that mean they aren’t have success with it? Are they on a CPM (as they were in the past)? If so, this move should at least give them some pricing power and the ability to make moves where they might have been afraid to go there in the past. Often times the biggest player in the space will make a game changing move and customers (advertisers in this case) are forced to follow.

Maybe that headline is justified.