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'Careful with fire'
is good advice, we know
'Careful with words'
is ten times doubly so.
Will Carleton
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Nzbase.com - keeping you in touch with daily online search engine news. Questions, comments or looking for search engine optimisation services?
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Hint: when browsing the nzbase.com site, look for the , signifying New Zealand specific information.

August 30, 2002

 New Zealand Net Guide Web Awards 2002
In New Zealand a large majority of the populace who are hooked to the web tend to read a monthly magazine called Net Guide. Net Guide may be aimed at the home user audience but there are some interesting insights mentioned each month. This month the website is running the Net Guide Web Awards 2002 for strictly New Zealand sites.

Microsoft release valuable Security Patch & Intellectual Property
Releasing a security patch to cover all shipped versions of Windows (XP,2000,ME,NT,98) Microsoft are saying 'Download [the patch] now to stop a Web site or HTML e-mail from deleting digital certificates on your computer and preventing you from using the services they are associated with.' You can download the patch from the Microsoft Security Site. Microsoft have also released key components of Windows to meet the terms of the proposed anititrust settlement with the US Department of Justice. Microsoft believe the disclosure of the APIs and the communications protocols amounted to the release of 'very substantial intellectual property'.

Computer Weekly 360: Microsoft finally opens Windows code

Computer Weekly 360: Install fix for digital certificate flaw on all copies of Windows

Are you Anti-Google?
If you have a problem with Google, you might want to jump on the band-wagon with David Brandt who describes them as 'uniquely tyrannical'.


August 29, 2002

Inktomi further entrenched with Microsoft

Inktomi are concentrating on the search engine aspects of their business model at present. The latest in this developments is 'Inktomi Integrating Enterprise Search with Microsoft Content Management Server to Enhance Accessibility of Business Content'.

Microsoft now offers an evaluation copy of Inktomi Enterprise Search as part of its Internet business solution kit. This must be seen as a good partnership deal for Inktomi but were does Microsoft search technology fit into the picture?


Are 'Googlethics' the way forward?

In a recent forum discussion, the question of how the SEO industry deals with un-ethical behaviour and whether 'Ethical SEO' is the most appropriate term to be used is discussed.

Perhaps, with Google appearing to be the standard in ethical behaviour in the SEO indutstry at the current time, SEO should now follow 'Googlethics'?


August 23, 2002

In search of...

I'm on a short break for the next week in search of a warmer climate and the perfect photo of a New Zealand landscape. Details on the latest search news (and possibly the photo) will follow on my return.


August 22, 2002

Is Overture sending you traffic you didn't bid for?

Overture have just announced the 'Match Driver' tool. This tool (without the advertisers consent) will send leads which you have not bid on but Overture believe the searcher was trying to find you. According to Overture 'Matches are made based on the relevance of the term, title and description of each listing.' and 'The Match Driver tool is applicable to all advertisers, it is not an application that the advertiser needs to turn on and off.'

With full disclosure (see point below) and respectable matching algorithims, this tool could send more leads at the value you have bid for but two questions must be asked - Will these leads actually be as qualified as what you have decided is your optimum CPC price for sustainable ROI on your specific keywords? and Can Overture unilaterally change the agreement you have with them regarding bidding for specific terms?

In addition to this Overture have actually admitted they will not fully disclose what search terms your traffic has actually come from - 'Traffic from the expanded matching feature will be shown in your reports under the terms you've bid on'

Another question would have to be what happens to unsuspecting new users of Overture's system who dont read the fine print? Full disclosure on the agreement would surely mean Overture shouldn't be able to say advertisers are bidding on 'specific' keywords...

Your opinions welcome...


August 21, 2002

American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) - Measuring E-Business...

'In search engines, the differences between what ACSI calls 'the largest competitors' are vast. Google registers a score of 80 -- more than 30% better than Alta Vista (61) and Ask Jeeves (62). Satisfaction with portal sites show a similar divergence, with Yahoo scoring 76 and Microsoft's MSN at 72, while AOL remains a laggard at 59 ... based on historical evidence, the future looks bleak for the services with low scores. '

This would have to justify the recent shift from AOL and Ask Jeeves to partner with Google search results. Does this also fortell the demise of Alta Vista?

See the full list of scores, and a commentary on the results by Professor Claes Fornell.

SearchEngineWatch : News Sites Beat Search Engines in Customer Satisfaction


August 20, 2002

 Building a World Class Website ... conference cancelled ...

Software Education New Zealand have unilaterally decided to cancel the conference to be held next week in Auckland. Basically they priced themselves out of the market and have left anyone who booked flights out of pocket. Not a good outcome for what would have been a useful conference in New Zealand.


Google CRM...

I was quite impressed today after receiving a call from a Google representative. 30 minutes after sending a mildly annoyed email concerning a lack of response to an advertising query I was called in person by the representative concerned. The representative informed me he had replied and was unsure why the email had not been received (dont be cynical), then proceeded to discuss the details behind copy maximising techniques used by Google. Five stars for Google CRM procedures.

Inktomi in Financial Trouble?

Rumours continue to spread over the financial stability of Inktomi after failing to satisfy the terms of its lease on it's headquarters (forum discussion).

SFGate.com : Inktomi's troubles hit headquarters


August 16, 2002

Lycos to enter the PPC race (Part II)...

Following the announcement of a new PPC system, Lycos have also announced that Find What will be the solution provider for the 'InSite AdBuyer'.

Lycos InSite AdBuyer Extends the Lycos InSite Suite of Search Marketing Services, Selects FindWhat.com as Solution Provider


August 15, 2002

New Paid Inclusion Program (ah-ha.com and InfoSpace team up)

Announced in the latest Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, California: 'Planned to launch within the next few weeks, the Paid Inclusion program will provide participating Web site owners with the ability to promote their sites within meta-search results InfoSpace delivers to a number of Web search properties, including Excite (www.excite.com), as well as InfoSpace's network of search sites, including Dogpile (www.dogpile.com), WebCrawler (www.webcrawler.com), MetaCrawler (www.metacrawler.com) and InfoSpace (www.infospace.com), among others.'

InfoSpace: ah-ha.com and InfoSpace Team for Paid Inclusion Program


August 14, 2002

A Day for Numbers...

580.78 Million people could read your site. It has been reported (August 13th) that 10% of the worlds population now have internet access. The current forecasts are that over one billion people will be online by the end of 2005.

Google proclaims to now index 2,469,940,685 pages being only a fraction of the actual number of pages believed to be on the internet. And how does Google do this? With a server farm of over 10,000 servers which have a loss due to hardware failure of around 32 servers per day.

Europemedia.net : 10% of the world's population now have internet access.
Search Engine Watch : The Technology Behind Google


August 13, 2002

Lycos to enter the PPC race...

Another search engine jumps on the band wagon in developing it's own PPC listings - this one's dubbed 'InSite AdBuyer'. Lycos does however plan to keep the Overture listings it currently runs. The adverts will also likely run on HotBot, an affiliated search engine owned by Terra Lycos.

'There are more than 350 million Web searches performed on the Internet every day and keyword targeting represents one of the most effective advertising approaches available,' said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Terra Lycos.

Internet News: Lycos to Develop Own Paid Placement Listings


August 12, 2002

Google Toolbar Security Flaw

When a downloadable add-on, promoted as heavily as the Google Toolbar, is found to 'allow an attacker to read files, reroute searches, and execute scripts on an affected PC', there are bound to be some heads roll - but will they?

Security flaws in downloads seem to be almost the norm now. With an increase in viruses, worms and trojans opening backdoors to PC's, it's easy to become complaicent and just accept the problem as a fact of life online. To tackle this the more wary user will only download from a respected source following at least some reasearch. The question now becomes, at what level do users accept security flaw's from a brand as respected as Google?

PC World: Google Fixes Security Flaws in Search Toolbar


August 9, 2002

 Seven Steps to Top Rankings...

Stephan Spencer from Netconcepts writes a good overview for the begginer entitled 'Seven Steps to Top Rankings - The Kiwi Marketerís Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing' with two parts currently online (part1, part2). The articles are written for nzecommerce.co.nz, a Government funded project of the E-commerce Action Team (ECAT) which can provide valuable resources and more importantly a networking base for both New Zealand e-commerce professionals and SME's.


August 8, 2002

 Building a World Class Website...the conference...

Even with New Zealand having a relatively large presence on the web (considering a population of under 4 million), it can be difficult to find leading conferences to attend and learn from without heading off-shore. In late August, Software Education Associates are holding a conference termed 'Building a World Class Website' with noted speakers from the technical side of the online industry.

Noted speakers include Molly E. Holzschlag, Joseph Lowery and New Zealand's very own Denis Dutton (Daily Arts & Letters'). Held at the Sheraton Hotel in the centre of Auckland, the event should provide some useful insights.


August 7, 2002

Google or Googol?

With Google known so well for it's slant on highly relevant search results and this quote from the founder when asked about brainstorming the name 'Google' is a classic:
To be perfectly honest, we misspelled it. We realized it was misspelled pretty quickly, but we decided it still sounded kind of nice.
The term 'googol' is a name for the number 10 raised to the power 100.


August 6, 2002

Copy wars - Google Adwords vs Overture Listings

Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Watch writes a comprehensive (if a bit long winded) article on the differences surrounding what the key providers of PPC traffic consider acceptable copy. The key term outlining the whole idea of being acceptable is 'relevancy'. Both providers are looking for the most relevant copy that will lead through to higher clickthrough rates (and ultimately more money in their pockets). At the same time they are looking to balance the requests of the portals they supply information to with the needs of advertisers. As many SEM's know this can turn to conflict when the question of relevancy is subjective to the reader.


August 5, 2002

Inktomi Representative Explains Job Cuts

Inktomi representatives have started appearing on search engine forums around the web. This forum thread was started with an Inktomi representative introducing themselves then asking for general questions or suggestions which Inktomi may help with. Answers quickly followed questions from posters showing a good commitment by the search engine. Answering a question concerning the recent job cuts at Inktomi and shift in focus towards purely search technology the representative posted:

Recently Inktomi made some organizational changes to focus the entire company around search - both Web and enterprise. We think this organizational focus will be great for both divisions in the long run. Web search continues to be a profitable division and we've hired quite a few people in the past few weeks as we put more momentum behind the division and invest in our product. As you might imagine, there are also a lot of great synergies to be found between enterprise and Web search.


Well done to Inktomi for acknowledging a source of their business. Hopefully some of the other search engines will also see fit to become pro-active in dealing with SEM's.


August 2, 2002

Lloyds is paying Google roughly $1.55 million(USD)...

With the opening of a office in the UK around a year ago, Google appear to be pushing hard towards the monetarisation of their company's vision. Speculation continues to circulate concerning when Google will float on the stock market. The move from big brands such as Llyods can only be good for building up towards an IPO.

Google Nets Lloyds TSB for Seven-Figure Ad Deal - Lloyds is paying for more than 1,000 insurance-related keywords as it targets Google's 7.5 million British users over a one-year period.


August 1, 2002

Developing Header Tag's for Search Engines

Many developers know that search engines place (at least some) extra weighting on heading tags (eg; <h1>,<h2>...). To take full advantage of this, heading tags can be used in the development of a site. Style sheets can then be used to control the heading tags to format them to the theme of your site. Search engines currently do not read style sheets although with some abuse occuring in this area it is possible they will in the future. One problem which heading tags do have is the extended margins below and above the tags. Here is a good quick series of posts which detail some simple style sheeting to get around the problem by setting your margins to zero.


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