The Search Engine Update - Number 190 - February 1, 2005

In This Issue

+ Yahoo Cofounder Jerry Yang To Keynote SES NY
+ Major Search Engine Watch Articles
+ More From The Search Engine Watch Blog
+ About The Newsletter

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Yahoo Cofounder Jerry Yang To Keynote SES NY

Just confirmed, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang will be delivering the keynote speech at our upcoming Search Engine Strategies show in New York, just in time for the company's 10th anniversary.

Search Engine Strategies runs from Feb. 28-March 3, 2005 and also features speakers from all the major search engines of AOL, Ask Jeeves, Google, MSN and Yahoo, along with experts on search marketing.

A full conference agenda is now available. Many of our popular sessions on search marketing are returning and offer information of interest to search marketers of all level.

A number of new and special sessions have also been added. The Search Landscape session will involve rating services looking at who is tops generally and in vertical areas. The Searcher Behavior panel will examine new research on how people search. Search Algorithm Research & Development session offers a look at new papers and technologies aimed at improving search.

Those are just some of the new sessions from the first day alone. We also have two "summits" planned, one on indexing issues and one on branding, where we'll see if there are resolutions to some concerns publishers and advertisers have. Search executives will participate in a roundtable on "Search Convergence," looking at how search is escaping the web and becoming embedded in other areas.

For a full rundown, see the conference web site. You can also view the entire program at-a-glance or use the session planner to get itineraries designed for those new to search marketing, interested in ad issues, interested in organic/free listings or even what's new in the Been Before category.

Dates for other events around the world next year have also been set for next year. Those dates and basic information can be found on the Search Engine Strategies site.

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Search Engine Watch Articles
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Here's a recap of major articles, important blog postings and some interesting forum discussions from Search Engine Watch since the last newsletter:

MSN Search Officially Switches To Its Own Technology
SearchDay, Feb. 1, 2005

Nearly two years after announcing it would develop its own search technology, MSN Search began feeding the general public results found through its own internally developed search engine. A look at what's new since the beta came out last year and what may come. Also see the companion piece Many MSN Direct Answers Now Online.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Jan. 31, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Google to Open Up API to AdWords Customers - AOL Expands Advertising Opportunities for Local Businesses - Google Adds Video Search - Google Loses Trademark Dispute In France - Google's Supplemental Index - Google Now Allows More Than 10 Words Per Query, and more.

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NYT On Yahoo's US Gains & Google's Endless Betas
SEW Blog, Jan. 31, 2005

The New York Times notes in Search Sites Play a Game of Constant Catch-Up that despite new releases and "me too" matching of products by competitors, Google has still increased its share of searches worldwide from 44 percent in November 2003 to 47 percent in November 2004. But in the US, numbers show that Yahoo has gained significantly. What's behind the gains?

The article has lots of quotes from me commenting on how Yahoo shows a desire to define a project, deliver on it and move on. In contrast, I remark how Google delivers something in beta form, then moves on to something else without seeming to finish the job. Whether this operational style is behind Yahoo's growth or if there are other factors, I don't know. Google responds that it's hard to say it's dropped the ball on any major releases. With respect, I beg to differ -- and this post goes into detail about that. Also see More On The Endless Betas Of Google from earlier this month.

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More Gbrowser Talk
SEW Blog, Jan. 31, 2005

If you want some more discussion of a possible Google web broswer, Eric Hellweg's new Technology Review article, Project Googlefox, offers some analysis of last week's news about two Firefox developers who recently joined Google. See also from us:

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Threats To Referrer Info & Workarounds To Loss
SEW Blog, Jan. 28, 2005

Referrer information is priceless to search marketers and others. It can help you understand exactly which search engines were used to reach your web site and even the exact terms used. Our forum thread Referral ID strings and referrer info, kicked off by member Ammon Johns (Black Knight), looks at how referrer tracking is getting harder as concerns over spyware begins to strip out standard information that browsers have provided long before spyware was a concern. What workarounds exist? Could the search engines themselves automatically append data to the name of a URL they send users, which would provide referrer information in another way? For more on referrer information, see this past article for SEW members, Keywords Used To Find Your Web Site.

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AlmondNet Debuts "Post-Search" Search Behavioral Ad Network
SearchDay, Jan. 27, 2005

AlmondNet is unveiling a new program today to deliver advertising across the web targeted to the topics someone has searched on recently, including queries done on major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members goes into more depth on privacy issues and looks more closely at how ads will be rotated and targeted. See also New Search Behavioral Network Launched for some background articles on behavioral targeting.

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Google AdWords API Launched
SEW Blog, Jan. 27, 2005

As rumored, Google has released an API for its Google AdWords program. More details from Google here, plus a new AdWords API blog has also been started by Google (blog feed is here). The system will allow programmers to do anything the current Google AdWords management system allows but via programming calls. More details also in this post.

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Amazon's A9 Launches Visual Yellow Pages
SearchDay, Jan. 27, 2005

A9's new nationwide yellow pages directory comes with a twistthumbnail images of business storefronts that let you take a virtual walk through the streets of 10 major U.S. cities. Also see Issues with a9's Latest Offering.

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Now Available: A New Service from Yahoo Local
SEW Blog, Jan. 27, 2005

Yahoo Local users can now easily and quickly send phone numbers and addresses from the Yahoo Local database to their cell phones or mobile devices as text (SMS) messages. The service is free but your phone provider may charge for text messages. A bit more on using this in the post and an even cooler free service called Vazu that allows you to send text material from any web page to any phone around the world as a text message.

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Google Vs. Le Meridien Revisited
SEW Blog, Jan 26, 2005

This article exclusively for Search Engine Watch members takes a closer look at how French ruling against Google does not completely forbid bidding on trademark terms but does highlight how bidding suggestion tools can make search engines more liable in such cases.

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The Power of Virtual Search Engine Marketing
SearchDay, Jan. 26, 2005

Outsourcing has hit virtually every industry, and now it has become a vital strategy for search engine marketing firms that not long ago insisted on attending to every detail. Here's how the trend is playing out.

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My MSN Adds Feed Discovery Support
SEW Blog, Jan. 25, 2005

As rumored to come, MSN has now added added feed discovery and subscription services for those using its My MSN service. In this article, how to find and subscribe to feeds via MSN.

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Integrating Search with Other Marketing
SearchDay, Jan. 25, 2005

Search marketing is still 'stand-alone,' existing largely outside of the traditional marketing mix, but this must change, to address the needs of consumers who are increasingly turning to search to make all types of buying decisions.

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Google Debuts Video Search
SEW Blog, Jan. 25, 2005

Google Video is a new experimental service that allows you to search across the full-text transcripts of television programs. A look at how the service works. Also see A Look At Other Web Video Search Tools and Blogosphere Video Search, both from Gary Price, on alternative video and TV search products you'll want to check out.

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Yahoo Video Search Expands, On Home Page
SEW Blog, Jan. 24, 2005

Yahoo Video Search is now accessible via a tab on the Yahoo home page. Additionally, in the near future Yahoo Video Search will allow you to search every word spoken during television news broadcasts from the BBC, Sky News, and Bloomberg. More in this post.

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Survey: Searchers are Confident, Satisfied & Clueless
SearchDay, Jan. 24, 2005

The vast majority of searchers say they are confident about their searching skills and are successful at finding what they're looking for far more often than not, yet most don't understand how search engines work or present results.

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The Overture API: Advertiser Web Services
SEW Blog, Jan. 24, 2005

With all the news about Google's AdWords API, it's worth noting that Overture has one as well, offered since 2001. In this post, what it provides.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Jan. 21, 2005

Links to this week's topics from search engine forums across the web: AOL Search Moves Up to the Big Leagues - Google's New 'Nofollow' Attribute - We Are Seeing A Rollout of MSN New Search - Organizing a Multi-Language Site - 7 Steps To Identifying Click Fraud, and more.

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AOL Search: Playing In the Big Leagues Now
SearchDay, Jan. 20, 2005

AOL is rolling out several enhancements to its core search functionality that position it as a clear contender in the battle for eyeballs between Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and MSN Search.

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Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links
SEW Blog, Jan. 18, 2005

In the first cooperative move for nearly ten years, the major search engines have unveiled a new indexing command for web authors that they all recognize, one that they hope will help reduce the link and comment spam that plagues many web sites, especially those run by bloggers. This article looks at the new nofollow attribute, how it works, causes of link spam, how search engines will process links with the attribute, how the attribute won't stop link spam but is a nice additional tool to have and more. See also:

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More From The SEW Blog
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Audio: Interview with Blinkx Co-Founder and CTO
By Gary Price, Jan. 31, 2005

Network World Fusion has posted a 5 minute interview (streaming audio or MP3 download) with Blinkx co-founder and CTO, Suranga Chandratillake. Most of the discussion focuses on BlinxkTV, a video search tool that has been available with their client app for several months and officially launched as a standalone site and service in December.

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Google's Top Brass Talk Search
By Gary Price, Jan. 31, 2005

Google's VP of Engineering Adam Bosworth, spoke to The Gillmor Gang (you can listen online) about future search engine architecture, personalization, and RSS. Findory's Greg Linden responds to some of Bosworth's comments with his take on the value of personalization. Also Peter Norvig, Google's Director of Search Quality. Norvig discusses semantic web ontologies, automation, and other issues.

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Yahoo Local & Product Placement On The Apprentice
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 31, 2005

How A Product Placement Strategy Works from AdAge looks in depth on how Yahoo is promoting its Yahoo Local service through The Apprentice television show. Apparently, one episode last season got a ton of people to try searching at Yahoo for "apprentice ice cream," though it's unclear if the did this on Yahoo or Yahoo Local. Yahoo Local is mentioned even more as part of the current series. How much for the placement? Yahoo's not saying. See also Yahoo & Reality TV Product Placement Deal and Yahoo Comes To Broadway Via Spamalot for related product placement moves.

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Loquine Glupe SEO Contest Begins
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 31, 2005

In the spirit of the nigritude ultramarine and seraphim proudleduck SEO contests, the latest one is for being tops on Google by March 1 for the term loquine glupe. More details here. Checking Google, there's 1,230 pages already listed for the term.

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Google Employee Advertises Blog On Google?
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 31, 2005

Why would a Google employee advertise a blog that itself appears to generate no revenue? A Google PR conspiracy, some wonder, especially given how the ads was able to use the verboten word of Google in it. Not so fast -- within seconds, I was able to run a similar ads. More on this and other issues, in the post.

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Microsoft: No Plans to Integrate Desktop Search into OS
By Gary Price, Jan. 31, 2005

During a panel about search at the Harvard Business School Cyberposium, Mark Kroese, general manager of information services and merchant platform product marketing for MSN, told the audience that MS doesn't plan to integrate desktop search in the operating system. More in this post.

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The OC Arrested By Ask Jeeves, Too
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 31, 2005

Earlier, I posted how A9 got a mention on The OC. Ask Jeeves got an OC-related plug on TV this week, as well. More on how that happened, plus using Google's new Google Video service to find various product mentions of Google, A9 and Ask Jeeves, in this post.

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Yahoo Plans to License Financial Data
By Gary Price, Jan. 31, 2005

It looks like Yahoo plans to open up a new revenue stream by licensing stock quotes and other financial data. ZDNet's story: Yahoo to feed its own stock ticker service and the Marketwatch.com story: Yahoo Finance builds licensing biz, offer details. Yahoo has been using financial data (quotes, charts, etc.) supplied by Reuters. Now, Yahoo will collect and disseminate this type of data using direct feeds from various stock exchanges and other sources. The service will be called "Quotes from Yahoo Finance." Forbes has said that they will license data from the "Quotes from Yahoo Finance" service.

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Don't Waste Time On Web's Biggest
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 31, 2005

A new search engine "Web's Biggest" has come out claiming they are bigger than the other major search engines. Wow, rush on over! Don't waste your time. More in the post on why being biggest isn't necessarily best -- and why this site doesn't even seem biggest at all.

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A Directory of Over 12,500 Search Tools
By Gary Price, Jan. 30, 2005

Search Engines 2 offers direct links to more than 12,500 search tools that are organized into several categories (topic, location, ppc engines, etc.) Worth a look and very possibly a bookmark.

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Google Ousted from Top Spot in Global Brand Rankings
By Gary Price, Jan. 30, 2005

A Reuters article: Apple Edges Google as Top Brand, reports that Apple is now the "most influential global brand" in a survey just released by Brandchannel. Google is now at number two on the Global list and North American lists. The complete results are posted here.

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Changes Made to Google's Advanced Search Help Page
By Gary Price, Jan. 28, 2005

It looks like Google has reworked their Advanced Search help page. More info on what you can do with the advanced search interface in this post.

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Cool Tools: Jux2 and NeedleSearch in the News
By Gary Price, Jan. 28, 2005

Two cool tools that we've mentioned several times on the blog are discussed in a new Forbes article: Searching For Searches. First is Jux2, which allows you to quickly compare search engine overlap between Google, Yahoo, and MSN. For those of you who do web search training, Jux2 is a wonderful resource to show students that results vary (often dramatically) between engines. Ranking.Thumbshots.com is a similar service that Chris wrote about in a SearchDay article.

The Forbes article goes on to mention a couple of plugins for Firefox including one that I've been using for over a year called NeedleSearch. This plugin allows you easily (two clicks) capture the search functionality from most search engines and map it to a toolbar. You can learn more about NeedleSearch in an overview article I wrote for SearchDay.

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Questioning Google's Counts
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

Search engine counts are never something you should depend on, a topic we've discussed many times before. Still, if you're going to get a count, it's nice if it doesn't seem to change much or simply seem absurd depending on the query you do. Google's counting has been shaky for ages. But the Web: Google's counts faked? article does a lot of math to find the counts have even more weirdness to them. Over at our forums, the Impossible Counts discusses the article and also skips the math and looks at why searches you know should bring back fewer results nevertheless don't. And in this post, a compendium of other articles worth reading on the topic.

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Q&A With Head Of Yahoo Media Group
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

This Hollywood Reporter article TV vet Braun reveals what's next for content at Yahoo provides a Q&A with Lloyd Braun, head of the new Yahoo Media Group group. He discusses generally plans to develop internet content for Yahoo's vertical properties or what he says in the interview that he calls "channels." That's not a new name for these areas, of course. Portals have been calling their vertical areas "channels" for years, stretching back to Excite's formerly exciting days (see Welcome To SearchEngineLand). See also from the LA Times, Yahoo embracing Hollywood scene, and and from us Yahoo Goes to Hollywood.

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Video Search Means New Marketing Opportunities?
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

Rebecca Lieb speculates on what search engines going into video search may mean in terms of marketing opportunities in Moving Targets at ClickZ.

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Search Engines Going Mobile
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

Search Engines Go Mobile recaps how search engines are reaching out into our cell and mobile phones, focusing mainly on the Yahoo local search-to-cell phone service and the Froogle SMS service rolled out at the end of last year. More from Gary on that here: Two New Ways to Search Froogle Via SMS.

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Impressive Quarter for InfoSpace
By Gary Price, Jan. 28, 2005

Infospace had an impressive Q4 with their profits almost doubling. In this post, some highlights from the company's recent filings. The INSP news release also includes a breakdown of search-related revenues.

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Become.com Shopping Search To Launch
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

The founders of mySimon and Wisenut have come together to create new shopping search site Become.com. It's a closed beta right now, but Gary's planning a look for when the launch nears. A press bash and preview is happening earlier this month, and the launch itself will happen in late February. In the meantime, here's a short Q&A with Yang on the launch from Marketing Shift: Q&A session with CEO Michael Yang.

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I A9'd Him? A9 Hits The OC
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

We've only just gotten the second season of The OC over here in the UK, so I haven't seen the episode just shown in the US where a character apparently says that they "A9.com'd" someone. So that's what all the kids are saying these days! Or are being paid to say, more likely. More details in this Beta News article, A9.com Finds Promotion In The OC and a denial by A9 that it paid anyone anything in Google second class with hipsters? from News.com.

As an OC native, we never called it "The" OC when I lived there. Just OC, thanks very much. As a search person, I certainly never hear anyone say they A9'd anything. To be honest, I rarely hear anyone say that they even "googled" anything. Sometimes I wonder if we all like to think people say that more than they really do.

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Google & Yahoo Employee Blogs
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

After all the furor over a Google employee's blog earlier this week, I started categories called "Employee Blogs" for Google, Yahoo and MSN in the Search Topics area we maintain for Search Engine Watch members. If you're a member, they're at Google: Employee Blogs, MSN: Employee Blogs and Yahoo: Employee Blogs).

Today, I came across this handy list from Google Answers where someone's provided a long rundown of what they've found so far. So looking for search employee blogs? Check out the list. Philipp Lenssen over at Google Blogoscoped also compiles a list of weblogs by Google employees.

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Local Ads Spend Online To Rise; Paid Search Nearly 10 Percent Of It
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

Local Online Ad Spend to Rise 46 Percent in '05 from ClickZ summarizes a Borrell Associates report on 210 US media markets predicting that online ad spend will rise from $2.7 billion last year to $3.9 billion in 2005, a 46 percent increase. In this post, a bit more on why online yellow pages might be hurt by search engine spending, paid search figure and what will drive growth.

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LookSmart Reports $1.5 Million Loss
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

LookSmart reports a $1.5 million loss for last quarter, blaming the failure to go after sales in high-margin topics. Next quarter, it expects a loss of $4 to $5 million. More details from ClickZ: LookSmart Details What Went Wrong. The company had warned losses would be greater than predicted and recently reorganized. See the past post LookSmart Reorganizes, Raises Loss Projections for more on that.

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MotionBridge Offers Mobile Sponsored Search
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

MotionBridge, which provides mobile search services to various European and other cell phone providers, has rolled out a new paid listings service for the mobile platform. A few more details from the company's press release.

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Google Completes Definition Move To Answers.com
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

We blogged last week that Google was to moving to Answers.com for its dictionary definitions from Dictionary.com. Gary Stock from over at Googlewhack alerts us that the migration now appears complete. The change had an impact on Googlewhackers because the rules involve checking Google's dictionary -- and the switch apparently had the feature not working for several hours. More background on the differences between the two definition services can be found in our earlier post, Answers.com Now Supplying Dictionary Definitions and More to Google

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New ClickTracks Optimizer For Mid-Range Tracking Needs
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

ClickTracks is a popular web analytics tool that I personally use and love. Now the company is releasing a new ClickTracks Optimizer version ($1,200 or $100 per month) to sit between the basic ClickTracks Analyzer service ($500 or $50 per month) and ClickTracks Professional ($3,000 or $180 per mont) for those with high-end needs. The tool will provide tracking of robot and spider behavior, email tracking, three user licenses and custom campaign creation. News of the new tool is supposed to go up on the site today here -- watch the products page for it.

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Rojo: Feed Search Plus Social Networking
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2005

The new Rojo social networking service that utilizes RSS and search is featured in the Technology Review article So what are you reading these days?. The twist with Rojo? There's also a social networking aspect. Want to try it? It's invite only by existing members, for the moment -- though you can request an invite on the site.

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Yahoo and Showtime: Something "Big" Coming Soon
By Gary Price, Jan. 27, 2005

TV Week is reporting (subscription only) that Showtime, a cable TV network and Yahoo have plans to announce a content and promotion deal. The news came during a panel discussion with Robert Greenblatt, president of entertainment at Showtime, at this week's NATPE (National Association of Television Programming Executives) conference.

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FyberSearch Now Offers Results in RSS
By Gary Price, Jan. 27, 2005

Nathan Enns, the developer of FyberSearch has let us know about few a new services and advanced features. Results are now available in RSS format. Domain Clustering: no more than one result per domain name is displayed unless the user specifies. The keyword density option has been improved. It allows you to view pages that contain your search terms at least "X" number of times. More on the Fybersearch blog.

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Yahoo Factor: Victory In Search Wars Through Vertical?
By Gary Price, Jan. 27, 2005

Last to the game with desktop search, The Yahoo Factor from Technology Review argues that Yahoo may succeed in the search wars through a strategy of conquering through vertical search, such as mobile and local.

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More Search Survey Results
By Gary Price, Jan. 27, 2005

Sid Yadav has just posted the results of his NextSearchSurvey. It's easy to see that many of the people who took the survey were advanced searchers after reviewing the large number of respondents who know what a Boolean query is and utilize advanced search features. Yadav offers a few comments about the results here.

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Isobar's Fay On Multiple Search Groups
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 27, 2005

Last month, iProspect was acquired by Aegis Group to be part of its still relatively new Isobar network. Isobar also encompasses Carat Interactive, which provides SEM services. So now one group has two different units with search marketing services -- very similar to the situation with WPP operating mSearch and Outrider, that I wrote about earlier.

In Q&A with Sarah Fay from iMediaConnection, Isobar US's new president Sarah Fay (formerly president of Carat), touches how Isobar will deal with the two. They won't be rolled up into some master Isobar brand -- and yes, they might even compete with each other both for search clients or for the same pot of money to go into different types of marketing. But they'll also be encouraged to cooperate, as well.

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Redesign & Retain Rankings
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 27, 2005

Time to redesign your web site? Matt Bailey at Search Engine Guide offers some tips on doing that and maintain your search traffic in Planning Ahead for an Effective Redesign.

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Google Survey On Improving Its Advertising Professionals Program
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 27, 2005

Lee Odden posts the questions he was asked in a Google survey about how the recently launched Google Advertising Professionals program could improve or expand. How about campaign download software, adding your company logo into reports or a directory of professionals listed on the Google site? These and other ideas were listed. Want to discuss? Lee also started a forum thread on the topic: AdWords Enhancements in Store?

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Gambling on Yahoo
By Gary Price, Jan. 26, 2005

Both the BBC and ZDNetUK report that online betting will be available in March on the Yahoo UK and Ireland site via a joint venture with UK-based betting exchange BetFair. The service will be called Yahoo Betting.

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Standby: Google Q4 Earnings Coming Tuesday
By Gary Price, Jan. 26, 2005

This press release from the Mountain View reminds us that Google's Q4 earnings will be released on Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 4:30PM ET / 1:30PM PT. The conference call will be webcast here.

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Business.com Adds People Search
By Gary Price, Jan. 26, 2005

Word from business search vertical, Business.com that they've added people search to their site. A bit more on how it works and the underlying database in this post.

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Google Employee Blog Goes Back Up
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 26, 2005

Mark Jen, the Google employee whose blog content disappeared after he made some criticisms of the company, is back up and blogging again. In a new post, he explains that he had some stuff "that's not supposed to be there" and removed the entire blog as the "quickest way for me to fix the situation." More about what happened in this post. See also Google Employee Pulls Critical Blog Posts.

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Pay-Per-Call at AOL
By Gary Price, Jan. 26, 2005

Pay-Per-Call gained even more momentum last week when AOL announced that they'll soon offer advertisers this service. An article from the San Jose Mercury News takes a look: AOL to try Ingenio's technology. More about pay-per-call and Ingenio also in posts here and here.

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AOL Says Adios to Newsgroups
By Gary Price, Jan. 25, 2005

A brief story in The Register mentions that AOL has stopped providing access to newsgroups. AOL tells users who want to search or browse these groups to visit Google Groups.

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More Answers (Not Only Links) from AJ's Smart Search
By Gary Price, Jan. 25, 2005

Ask Jeeves Famous People Search gets a bit smarter. More in this post.

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Related Searches Return To AdSense -- But In A Good Way
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 25, 2005

Search Engine Roundtable has a nice item on Google testing a new system letting those who see its AdSense contextual ads change them on the fly to related topics: Google Beta Tests New AdSense Ads. Pretty slick -- the post also linked to this example site you can play with the "Change To Ads" feature.

Two years ago, Google rolled out a somewhat similar Related Searches feature for AdSense ads that it pulled within a day. Why? The implementation of that feature drove people off an advertiser's site and back to Google. This new implementation doesn't and so should be far more acceptable.

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Low Priced Women On eBay: More Automated Ad Problems At Google
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 25, 2005

Over in our forums, the Google Ad Complaint thread takes a look at some issues we've discussed before where automation in search ads can lead to confusing, if not misleading, product pitches. More in this post, and also see from this month Tsunami Ads For Gift Cards? Google, Where's the Review?, More Weird Google Ads and Google = Pornking? Fun With the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

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Fix The Terms First
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 25, 2005

Before you start fixing your HTML in a quest to improve search rankings, consider if you need to reassess the terms you are targeting. The same is true for tinkering with paid bids. Fredrick Marckini in Keywords: Speak Your Audience's Language from ClickZ argues that you might not be properly targeting the searcher.

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See You at the Yahoo Dome!
By Gary Price, Jan. 25, 2005

Bloomberg News reports that Yahoo Japan has purchased the naming rights of the Fukuoka Baseball Dome in Japan. More in the article: Yahoo Japan to Buy Fukuoka Baseball Dome Name Rights.

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Google CEO Schmidt To Speak At MSN Advertiser Summit
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 25, 2005

Last year, some jaws were dropping over MSN inviting competitor Yahoo's CEO Terry Semel to speak to its major advertisers. Time for some more jaws to hit the floor. This year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt will be giving a talk. More in this post.

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Companies Swarm to Search Advertising
By Gary Price, Jan. 24, 2005

The Chicago Tribune article: Web words become a lucrative market, offers an overview of how search ads work, touches on click fraud, and includes a couple stories from search advertising customers in the Chicago area.

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Scirus Offers Comments About Google Scholar
By Gary Price, Jan. 24, 2005

A just published issue of the Scirus newsletter includes a few comments about how Scirus views their product as compared to what Google offers with Google Scholar. Scirus is a service of the massive science publisher, Elsevier. In December, Information Today's Paula Hane chatted with Ammy Vogtlander, general manager of Scirus and her interview contains much more about how Scirus views their product vs. Google Scholar.

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A Look at the Future of Web Search
By Gary Price, Jan. 24, 2005

The February issue of Scientific American is out and contains a lengthy article about web search and info retrieval. You can read the six page article titled: Seeking Better Web Searches online. And in this post, more about some of the services mentioned.

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WebTrends Improves Links With WebPosition
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 24, 2005

The new version of the WebTrends web analytics tool now boasts improved integration with the WebPosition rank checking tool that WebTrends parent NetIQ purchased last year. Some more details from ClickZ: WebTrends 7 Debuts With Enhanced ROI Features and from the NetIQ press release.

As a side note, despite WebPosition's purchase by a major company like NetIQ, Google still continues to ban or penalize the official WebPosition site as I've written about before nor has it changed the wording of its help files specifically warning against the use of WebPosition. Google doesn't like rank checking tools in general and in particular calls out WebPosition because it has been an industry leading tool.

Should you not use it? Plenty of search marketers have done successfully by limiting the number of queries they do so as not to hammer Google.

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OneStat Says Google Stays On Top In Global Search
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 24, 2005

Visitor tracking service OneStat says Google remains the search engine sending the most users to sites making use of its measuring service. In this post, a short breakdown of figures.

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SEO Doesn't Equal Being Cheap
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 24, 2005

Aaron Wall in Why Many People Buy Shitty SEO Services has a nice look at someone apparently making tons of money off search-related sales but not wanting to put any serious money into hiring someone to help. SEM pricing, of course, can be all over the board. Some people charge little and yet do a great job. Others charge a lot but might not be able to help you. Suffice to say, however, good search marketers will expect to be well compensated for the traffic they bring.

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Testing Travel Search
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 24, 2005

The Organized Shopping Blog puts some travel search engines to the test in Travel Search Engine Shootout - Las Vegas Strip Hotels. Conclusion? The results seemed virtually interchangeable from long-established players such as Expedia. Among new players, SideStep was more comprehensive than Kayak and Mobissimo. Advice for searchers? Check the official web site of a hotel you are considering, then try SideStep, Expedia or Orbitz to quickly see if there are better prices. "Bottom line, no one site has the best price every time," says the test.

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ODP Founder Comments & Moving Past Directories
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 24, 2005

From SearchEngineBlog.com, Rich Skrenta Interview has Rich Skrenta sharing thoughts on how he went from being a founder of the Open Directory to starting up news search site Topix. He considers the Open Directory (or any web directory) no longer necessary, given how the web has evolved and grown. In this post, a look at his comment plus how directories have been in decline over the past few years.

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Baby Yahoo Story Was Made Up
By Gary Price, Jan. 24, 2005

Do you remember the Reuters story (and blog post) about a baby in Romania being named Yahoo? Well it turns out that story was fiction. The reporter of the story has been fired. More in the Reuters article: Reporter fired over fake Yahoo baby.

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Wild Speculation On Google Internet Phone Service Launch?
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 24, 2005

The Times Of London is reporting that Google will launch a free internet telephone service: Google gears up for a free-phone challenge to BT. For its part, Google has apparently dismissed the report as "pure speculation." In this post, a bit more on the shaky branch the Times crawled out upon.

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Survey: Manufacturers Plan Search Engine Marketing
By Gary Price, Jan. 23, 2005

A new study from SVM E-Business Solutions in cooperation with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce informs us that manufacturers plan to increase their spending in online advertising. More in Rob McGann's Clickz article: Study: Manufacturers to Ramp Up Online Marketing. The complete study is available from SVM.

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Ask Plans Mobile Search In 2005
By Gary Price, Jan. 23, 2005

I said several times in '04 that mobile search and access to info would continue to grow in both usage and the number of mobile services available. An IDG News story: Ask Jeeves Developing Wireless Search Service, reports that the butler will have a mobile search tool available sometime in 2005. I think mobile access to Ask's Smart Search technology (ANSWERS not only links) will be a plus for the mobile searcher since research time and other issues are major considerations when searching via a mobile device.

The second half of 2004 was a busy time for mobile search. We saw new releases from Yahoo (who already had a very robust platform), Google, Smarter.com, and others. By the way, RSS and other syndication formats also work very well on mobile devices. Bloglines already offers a special interface for mobile web users.

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Google Increases Maximum Number of Query Terms
By Gary Price, Jan. 23, 2005

Since Google's introduction the maximum number of search terms you could include in a query string was 10. As of today, that has changed. Tara Calishain at ResearchBuzz and Philipp Lenssen on Google Blogoscoped have posted that the maximum number of terms allowed in a search query is now 32. Lenssen's post includes several examples of how this might useful but also points out that the 10 word query limit is still in place for Google Groups and Google News. I can report that the 10 word limit remains the limit with Google Scholar. Many of the other large general purpose web engines (Yahoo, Jeeves, MSN) don't place limits on the number of terms in a query.

With this change (good news and a long time coming) I think advanced searchers would now like to see Google offer nested searching, remove the 101KB page cutoff, offer truncation, and be more precise about what backlinks they do and do not show. Oh yes, how could I forget, offer a proximity operator. As of today, Exalead is the only web engine to offer one. AltaVista used to make one available.

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SEO Versus SE Ads
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 21, 2005

In Compare and Contrast: SEM and SEO from ClickZ, Kevin Lee explains that SEO for many sites is mostly about clearing the hurdles that can make a site non-search engine friendly. Fix the problems, and the free listings tap might start flowing with relatively little need to watch over it on a daily basis. In this post, a closer look at the article and some of the issues it raises.

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Yahoo Filtering Search For China
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 21, 2005

There's no end to stories about how Google either does or is suspected to filter its results for China (with news, it does; with web search, China itself does). Nice to see it getting a break and Yahoo instead taking a slam for doing search filtering. That's covered at the end of this News.com article, When blogging can get you locked up. And in this post, a bit more on disclosure that everyone ought to be providing.

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More On FAST Beats Google For AOL Local
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 21, 2005

Our AOL Search: Playing In the Big Leagues Now on the new AOL Search release commented on FAST being selected over Google to power upcoming changes to AOL's local search service. Google bypassed in search deal from the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the win by FAST.

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Call for Papers: Spam, Blackhat & Adversarial Information Retrieval
By Chris Sherman, Jan. 21, 2005

A workshop is intended to bring together researchers and practitioners that are concerned with the on-going efforts in adversarial information retrieval on the Web (aka search engine spam, cloaking, link bombing and other black hat techniques) is happening at WWW2005 in May. SEO researchers are invited to submit papers or attend. More in this post.

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New My Yahoo Ticker For Windows Taskbar
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 21, 2005

Using My Yahoo to track stocks or read feeds? Now there's a little My Yahoo Ticker you can get that will stream material to you via your Windows taskbar. Email notifcation, weather forecasts and more are also provided. There's also some search capabilities built in. My Yahoo on Your Desktop from the Yahoo Search Blog provides some more details.

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Google Loses Trademark Infringement Case in France
By Gary Price, Jan. 20, 2005

On December 15th Google was victorious in a trademark-infringement lawsuit filed by GEICO in a U.S. Federal Court. However, Google loses trademark dispute in France from News.com reports it was a different story the next day for Google in France. Google will its loss there. In this post, a little more background on related actions. Also see Translation of French Court Order in Recently Decided Google Case and the Out-Law.com article, Google loses French AdWords case.

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Hotmail Users Can Now Subscribe to MS Outlook
By Gary Price, Jan. 20, 2005

The AP is reporting that Microsoft is introducing a fee-based email service that lets users, "organize email, contact lists and calendars in their online Hotmail accounts using the Microsoft Outlook program." The service is called Microsoft Office Outlook Live and will offer 2GB in storage and permits users to send attachments of up to 20 megabytes. A subscription to Microsoft Office Outlook Live costs $59.95/year (a 25% discount is currently available) and is the first Microsoft Office product to be made available as a downloadable subscription service. Additional details on the Outlook Live web site.

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iFrontier, Rawhide Absorbed
By Danny Sullivan, Jan. 20, 2005

Some updates on old SEM names we're finally losing due to past acquisitions. A bit more, in this post. FYI, I've added an updated my chart on various search marketing firm acquisitions. You'll find it here: Will 2005 Bring More SEM Acquisitions?

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Interface Tweaks to Search.Yahoo.com Interface
By Gary Price, Jan. 20, 2005

I've noticed a tweak to the clutter-free and ad-free Search.Yahoo.com interface this morning. Now included on the page, directly below the search box are: Three news headlines (and a direct link to Yahoo News); A direct link to Yahoo Finance along with Dow Jones and NASDAQ Averages; Yahoo Mail users can login and have direct links to their inbox (along with the number of new messages). A direct link to compose mail is also visible. Removing these features from the interface can be easily accomplished by simply clicking them closed. For about a year, Search.Yahoo.com users have been able to personalize which search tabs are visible on the page. Look for the "edit" link directly above the search box.

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Googlers Hit the Ski Slopes
By Gary Price, Jan. 19, 2005

It's going to be a challenge to find Googlers working at the Googleplex for the next few days. Why? The entire staff (more than 2000 plus staff members based in the Bay Area) are heading for a blow-out weekend party at the Squaw Valley ski resort in California. A few more details in this News.com blog post. Update: Google's ski bash is over. Here's a Washington Post report about the festivities. At Google, Not Quite Partying Like It's 1999.

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MSN Releases Australian and Canadian Versions of Newsbot
By Gary Price, Jan. 19, 2005

New from MSN today are a few more local versions of their Newsbot news search beta. You can find a listing with all of the local versions of Newsbot here. What is Newsbot all about? Take a look at the SearchDay article: MSN Previews Personalized News Search.

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Program For 2005 Search Engine Meeting Now Available
By Gary Price, Jan. 19, 2005

The program for the 2005 Search Engine Meeting that's scheduled to take place in Boston (April 11-12) is now online. A very very impressive list of speakers will cover a range of issues relating to search on the web, on the desktop and in the enterprise. Want to review presentations from past Search Engine Meetings? They're all linked here.

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"Hack" Google and Get a Job Interview?
By Gary Price, Jan. 19, 2005

Alan Docherty from The Independent tells the stories of Jon Barker, Elias Torres, and Mark Lyon. All three wrote Gmail "hacks" and were then promptly contacted by Google to ask if they were interested in working for the company. After phone interviews and for one person, a visit to the GooglePlex, none of these "Gmail hackers" were offered jobs. More in the article: Google is watching you

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Feedster Launches Database of Job Feeds
By Gary Price, Jan. 19, 2005

News from Feedster that they're now adding more than 5,000 job listings each day from a variety of services and companies that offer employment announcements in RSS format. A specialized interface to acccess these listings is also available at:
http://jobs.feedster.com. The news release also points out that more specialized interfaces (aka verticals) are coming soon.

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The Universal Library and Other Book Digitization Projects
By Gary Price, Jan. 19, 2005

Although Google's recent announcement to digitize the contents of several large libraries got most of the press coverage, I'm glad to see that other book digitization projects (many that have been around for years) are now also getting some press attention. We mentioned several of them in our first story about Google Print library project and in this post a couple of days later. A new article from the Hackensack Record offers more details about The Universal Library (from Carnegie Mellon University, The Internet Archive and others) and Project Gutenberg. If you're interested in making use of full text books currently available online (most free) the blog post: Searching for Digital Books, offers links to several excellent databases.

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For Your Google Video Archive: A 2003 Lecture by Eric Schmidt
By Gary Price, Jan. 18, 2005

Since I know many of you like having a complete record of "all things Google," I just tracked down this video of a keynote presentation by Google CEO Eric Schmidt from the March 2003 "Berkeley in Silicon Valley Symposium" conference. Enjoy!

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Dogpile Adds New Features
By Gary Price, Jan. 18, 2005

Dogpile has added a few new features that build on the IntelliFind technology that launched last November (see: Dogpile Enhances Search Results). What's new? The integration of yellow pages entries (beta release) on web search results pages if the Yellow Pages info is relevant to a query. Web Site Match: matches every query against a database of the most popular Web sites and "suggesting" exact matches at the top of serp.

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Yahoo's 4Q Profit Nearly Triples on Ads
By Gary Price, Jan. 18, 2005

Yahoo has just released their Q4 2004 earnings. You can find the numbers and highlights in this news release. Bambi Franscisco at Marketwatch.com reviews the numbers and more in this AP article: Yahoo's 4Q Profit Nearly Triples on Ads. Also available: Slides from the Yahoo conference call.

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A Look at a Few Boston Area Search Companies
By Gary Price, Jan. 18, 2005

Robert Weisman's article in the Boston Globe: In the shadow of Google takes a look at a few Boston search area companies. This post provides a few more details about them.

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Microsoft Tells Google To Cease and Desist
By Gary Price, Jan. 18, 2005

It's always interesting to review the collection of Cease and Desist Notices sent to Google (and others) via the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. Today, a few new C&D letters were made available including several from Microsoft that request Google remove several posts on Blogger weblogs that are hosted by Blogspot. In addition to browsing the list of letters, you can search for all of the notices sent to Google (451 as of today) by using this search engine, and search for the term "Google" in the "Recipient" field. Some notices deal with Google Groups (Usenet archives) and Google Images.

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