Daily SearchCast, August 15, 2006: AOL Sets Off Search Privacy Crisis; Google Webmaster Central Offers Cool Tools & Support; Yahoo Expands Site Explorer; 1,000 Pizzas For Google & More!

Today's search podcast covers AOL's release of search records and the ensuing privacy crisis that followed; Google's support for site owners enlarging into Google Webmaster Central; Yahoo's expanded Site Explorer tools; Google pushes back against click fraud estimates from third parties; 1,000 pizzas descend on Google and more!

Tune-in by listening to this MP3 file, listening via WebmasterRadio at 11:30am Eastern and repeated at 2pm Eastern Tuesday through Friday, via our Odeo channel or through iTunes via this link (or use alternative iTunes instructions explained here) or though our Yahoo Podcasts channel. Need more help tuning in live or finding the chat room? See the Daily SearchCast FAQ.

Below are links to items discussed:

  • Normality At SFO Despite Usual Conflicting Security Bull
  • Arriving At Heathrow Madness
  • AOL Releases Search Data & Raises Privacy Concerns
    Techmeme is reporting a huge amount of concern over AOL releasing, then pulling, search logs done by 500,000 users over three months. The purpose of the release was to help search researchers better understand user behavior in conjunction with an industry event for search researchers happening in Seattle, SIGIR. The data was posted on the AOL research site, but has since been pulled....
  • Search Privacy Concerns Humanized As The New York Times Tracks Down Anonymous AOL Searcher
    A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749 is an excellent read from the New York Times, where you can meet the person who is about to become the most famous searcher ever: Thelma Arnold, a 62-year-old from Georgia. Using the released AOL search records, the New York Times figured out who she was and interviewed her and her searching habits for the story. No more discussing whether anonymous search records might contain enough information to identify people. In some cases, they do (or at least enough to make an extremely good guess and get confirmation from the...
  • More On AOL's Search Release & Ways To Search The Records
    I've got some follow-up items about yesterday's story where AOL released user query records, including how anyone can now easily look at the data. First, after Barry did a recap of the news, I added a postscript to the story with more of my thoughts. In case you missed it, here are the key parts below:...
  • New Keyword Suggestion Tool Uses AOL Data
    SEO Scoop spotted a new keyword suggestion tool that estimates the volume of traffic you can expect for a given query based on the AOL data slip up. Basically, the tool has data from March to May of this year, it then takes the market share figures of Google, Yahoo and MSN and multiples that by the AOL search volumes for those queries. Of course, you have the issue of people searching differently at different engines. AOL users are typically less tech savvy, when compared to Google users. So I wonder how accurate the estimates are? The tool is at...
  • Another Tool Uses AOL Data For Search Term Research
    SEO Blackhat released a tool that uses AOL data, Hitwise figures and Overture's suggestion tool to figure out the search volume and click-through rate you can expect from a search phrase at the various search engines. Last week we reported on a more basic tool that did something similar but this new tool gives you an "estimate with some certainty how many clicks to expect for ranking anywhere in any search engine for any term." Basically, you go to this tool and enter in the number of searches you expect to be performed for a keyword phrase. Then after you...
  • Targeting Ads Based On Search Behavior & Privacy Issues Post-AOL
    Back in 2005, I wrote about AlmondNet moving forward with showing ads to surfers across the web based on their search profiles at major search engines. The move raised big search privacy issues. Since then, AlmondNet's kept going -- along with others such as Yahoo, in mining search behavior to deliver ads beyond search results pages. Advertisers Trace Paths Users Leave on Internet from the New York Times today takes a look how Yahoo, MSN and AOL are all trying to push into the post-search ad delivery space....
  • EFF Asks FTC To Limit How Long AOL Can Store Search Records
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has asked the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate AOL's release of search records last week and prevent the company from storing search data for longer than two weeks....
  • Daily SearchCast, August 9, 2006: Special Edition, A Conversation With Google CEO Eric Schmidt
    Today's search podcast covers Search Engine Watch editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan talking with Google CEO Eric Schmidt live before an audience at Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2006 on topics ranging from search privacy to Google's expansion into all aspects of daily life. Tune-in by listening to this MP3 file, via our Odeo channel or through iTunes via this link (or use alternative iTunes instructions explained here) or though our Yahoo Podcasts channel....
  • Google Sitemaps Becomes Google Webmaster Central; Preferred Domain Tool Launched
    Google Sitemaps has gained a new name along with new features. Google Webmaster Central is the new name of the former Google Sitemaps service, which now has evolved into a central place for Google to provide help information, statistics, reports and tools to help webmasters....
  • Which Queries On Yahoo Search Get Redirected To Site Explorer?
    The Yahoo Search Blog defines which queries will be redirected from Yahoo Search to Yahoo Site Explorer. Remember on July 11th when we reported that Yahoo Tests Redirecting Some Searches To Site Explorer? So which queries exactly do this? Queries in the format of site:ysearchblog.com or link:http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000341.html or linkdomain:ysearchblog.com but not ysearchblog.com or ysearchblog or site:ysearchblog.com webmasters (looking for ysearchblog posts mentioning webmasters) or link:http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000341.html Danny Sullivan (looking for links to the article mentioning Danny Sullivan) or or linkdomain:ysearchblog.com site:yahoo.com (looking for links to ysearchblog from within yahoo.com). More details at the Yahoo Search Blog....
  • The Bot Obedience Course - New Yahoo! Site Explorer Tool Announced
  • Google Fights Claims Of Some Third Party Click Fraud Studies
    The Google Blog just posted a report on how they feel some of the independent third party click fraud reports published are exaggerating the clickfraud numbers. Google says they have seen some reports that show "1.5 times the number of clicks in our logs," the reason? Well, Google summarized the "two main points" of the larger paper they published on the issue as being; (1) "mischaracterizing events," i.e. clicking the back button and it being characterized as a click and (2) "conflation across advertisers and ad networks," where cookie issues confuse Yahoo clicks with Google clicks. For the full, 17-page...
  • Yahoo & Google Commit To An Other Independent Click Fraud Audit At SES
    Donna Bogatin snagged both John Slade, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google Trust & Safety into agreeing to an other clickfraud audit. This commitment is for an IAB "independent auditing against the complete guidelines." Donna grilled Yahoo & Google during the Q&A session of the Auditing Paid Listings and Click Fraud Issues, which I hear was pretty heated....
  • Auditing Paid Listings and Click Fraud Issues
  • Google & MySpace In $900 Million Deal On Search & Contextual Ads
    Just in, an announcement that Google and MySpace have reached a deal for Google to provide search and contextual ads to MySpace, in return for giving MySpace (well, the entire Fox  Interactive Media network) $900 million in guaranteed payments through 2010. From the press release:...
  • Google & Viacom Partner In Video Ad Test
    Via the NY Times, Google and Viacom have partnered to place Viacom video clips (MTV and other clips) on web site owner pages. The video clips will contain ads from Viacom, which Google and site owns will share the revenues from. These tests are to begin towards the end of the month. This is the first step, I bet, to AdWords on TV. Last week we reported that Google Radio is coming to XM Satellite Radio, so TV isn't so far fetched. FYI - sorry for short posts, SES San Jose is today and coverage will be slow. Towards the...
  • Google Jet Lawsuit Has Been Settled
    Google Founders Silence Designer Of ‘Party Plane' fromthe New York Sun covers a dispute over the Google founders' private jet being settled. Danny has been poking fun about this Oklahoma designer who spoke out about some of the requests made by Sergey Brin and Larry Page about the the interior design of the jet they bought. I mean, Google went far to try to silence this man from talking. But after enough persistence and encouragement, the designer, Leslie Jennings, has notified the NY Sun, "The case was settled to the satisfaction of both parties."...
  • Googlers Go For Pizza Stunt
    Via InsideGoogle, Feeding Google - Better than Pirates of the Caribbean is a video over at YouTube where start-up CambrianHouse decides to attract attention by delivering 1,000 pizzas to the Googleplex in Mountain View. Will the Googlers go for it? Yes, they do....