Highlights from the SEW Blog: Mar. 13, 2006

Featured posts from the Search Engine Watch blog, as well as our customary search headlines from around the web. If you’re not familiar with our blog, click on any of the links below, or visit the blog’s home page at http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/.

Brazil Asks Google To Help Orkut To Stop Organizing Organized Crime

Poor old Orkut, Google’s social networking service. First it’s knocked for only being popular in Brazil. Then it’s knocked for being a haven Al-Qaeda sympathizers. Now it’s back to Brazil, where “Google Brasil summoned on chat room complaint” from Reuters covers how the Brazilian public ministry is asking Google to explain what it is doing to curb organized crime activities allegedly being committed or planned within Orkut. The story notes that 73 percent of Orkut’s users are apparently Brazilian. The story makes mention of child pornography in Orkut. The service has also been dinged for drug sales, with ten arrests made in Brazil last July.

Will Local Search Engines Replace National Search Engines for Local Search?

ClickZ reports“about half the panelists believe local search engines will replace national search engines like Yahoo, Google and MSN when it comes to specific market needs,” according to Borrell Associates’s “2006 Local Search Advertising” report.

Two-thirds of the panelists say that this can happen as soon as five-years from now. My own personal feeling is that this won’t happen. Yahoo, Google and the other engines, in my opinion, are doing a wonderful job with their local search portals, and the vertical integration with their main search portals. In addition, Google and MSN have wonderful search advertising targeting, with Yahoo not lagging that far behind. But with local search revenue to hit $987 million this year and double the year after, there is plenty of money to be shared amongst all the engines.

An executive summary of the report is available here.

Al-Qaeda Likes Orkut

Apparently, it’s not just Brazilians who like Orkut. Bloggers Blog points to “Orkut Home to Osama Bin Laden Fan Clubs” from USA Today, which reports that Google’s social networking service is popular with Al-Qaeda sympathizers.

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‘Drafting’ and ‘Hijacking’ in Paid Search

A ClickZ article named Paid Search Spawns ‘Drafting’ and ‘Hijacking’ Strategies discusses the differences of ‘drafting’ and ‘hikacking’ tactics and its legal/ethical consequences. The article explains Peter Hershberg’s, from Reprise Media, definition of the two. He defines hijacking “as when a competitor outranks an advertiser’s campaign by outbidding them.” And drafting he defines “as a case where an advertiser conducts a search marketing campaign and a competitor takes advantage of the traffic by bidding on related terms.” The article gets into the ethics of using these tactics, I know I have seen discussion in the SEM world of people bidding on other people’s names and most did not appreciate it (see past Search Engine Watch Thread). But soon after the “Mazda Taps Into Pontiac TV & Search Ads Again” topic, Yahoo Banned Bidding On Competitor Trademarks. For more on this, read the ClickZ article.

Google Explains Invalid Clicks

Google has rarely spoken publicly about click fraud issues surrounding their Google AdWords program, even with the publicity it has received of late and today’s $90 million class action settlement. So an Inside AdWords blog entry detailing many of the frequently asked questions advertisers have about click fraud and invalid clicks was a surprise, as was the Google Blog entryabout the specific settlement details.

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Yahoo’s Yang Says It’s More Important To Be In China Than Risk Of Not Participating

News.com reports that Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang said, “It is more important for us to participate, not only for economic reasons, but to be able to help shape where the industry is going.” Yang said that Yahoo has to balance the “risk of not participating” and overall, “we are seeing changes, on the whole, for the positive” in the Chinese market. Yang seems to take a different angle with his reasoning for operating in China, when compared to Barry Diller’s Keynote where he commented that being in China is about being about to “stomach operating in a country” and that operating in China is more of a political decision then a business decision. Yang replied to giving up details of a Chinese dissident saying; “We feel horrible about that…We have no way of preventing that beforehand….If you want to do business there you have to comply.” So can Yahoo stomach it? Can Yahoo influencethe political gates?

February 2006 Search News Recap Posted

The latest edition of my monthly Search Engine Report newsletter is now online, recapping tops stories in search from the past month.

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