Friday, April 29, 2005

Ask Jeeves to reduce the number of ads on search results pages

Good news for marketers from the CEO of Ask Jeeves, Steve Berkowitz who, following the acquisition of Ask Jeeves by IAC, has announced that the number of 'sponsored links' appearing at the top of Ask Jeeves results is to reduce. Apparently tests have shown that reducing the number of ads at the top of the page actually increases the frequency with which people visit the site and stay there. They didn't need research for that - they could've phoned!

The IAC acquisition will also lead to the Ask Jeeves search box appearing on Expedia, CitySearch, Ticketmaster and - a quick win.

Search Engine Watch

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Golf for sale on eBay with 'heavenly' history

Couldn't resist this story - the new Pope Benedict 16th no longer needs his old Golf with 75,000 kilometers on the clock. Moving to Rome? Where else would you sell your second-hand Golf - but eBay! Thanks to Austrian TV's web site for letting us know!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Who wants a search history in their search engine - consumers or advertisers?

Both Yahoo and Google have launched a facility to check your search history - something people may remember first from A9.

Why would Google and Yahoo launch such a service within a week of each other - noting that they have both been talking about 'personlisation' for some time.

I don't find huge numbers of search users commenting that they can't remember their searches and yet both Google and Yahoo seem to be finding this very important.

Could it be the development of the advertising service of both search engines? MSN has already announced that it will use the hugh volume of personal information it holds on users to target demographically with its new pay per click system due to launched soon in France. MSN has the benefit of a long history of registrations from Hotmail - as well as from Microsoft Messenger and its many other products and services. It clearly aims to leverage this!

Yahoo has been building personal data too - but Google is relatively far behind on this one with its email system only having been created in the last year.

You should expect lots more 'personalisation' features to come from the engines - especially Google. What about your own personal web site for free? It's just a matter of time.

Reuters Top rank Online marketing blog

Monday, April 25, 2005

Google goes for cost per impression charging for new 'Site Targeting'

Google is moving fast these days - and working hard to protect its business model - by launching new ones. Now, it has announced a new tool which will allow advertisers to target particular external sites with their Google Adwords.

'Site Targeting' goes live to a few select customers today and will be charged on a 'cost per impression' basis. Advertisers will be able to select where they wish their ads to appear by selecting from a lengthy list - or going 'board' but specifying certain sites where the ads should not appear. This does not include Adwords itself - in other words Google search.

Why is google doing this? Why go back to an impression charge?

Possibly to head off criticism over the quality of some 'clicks' which come through the normal Adsense system. First, there was Smart Pricing which meant you paid less if the conversion rate - measured by Google's tracking on your site - was below the norm.

Then there was a lot of concern over what's termed 'click fraud' where competitors or publishers could put up the cost of your advertising by clicking many times. What better way to regulate this than to give the power of the advertising to the advertisers themselves.

Just as importantly is Google's aspiration to win over the Fortune 1000 advertisers who spend disproportionately on advertising - but not, it seems, with Google. Why not? Because they have brand values to protect. Don't we all!

Friday, April 22, 2005

93% growth in turnover for Google in Q1

Google has reported its results for the first quarter of 2005 showing a 93% growth on turnover when compared with the same time last year. Total turnover January-March was $1.256 Billion.

The growth, according to Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, was in part due to the growing use of the internet. "We have been able to take full advantage of the growth in online advertising. In addition, we performed well across all our operations with our engineering and product teams delivering dozens of new products and features for Google users around the world."

The Google Ad Sense programme which generates revenue from ads on publishers sites grew by 75% - whereas Google's own sites - the search engine itself and amongst others - generated 116% growth. So it would appear that 'search' continues to outpace other activities.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Google launches!

It's actually been a long time coming and awaited with some keenness - but it's now live and working well. With no warning and just the addition of a line underneath the search box - the localised UK Google burst into life this week.

It features two search boxes - one for the query and one for the location - but then "hey presto" a list of locally addressed organisations leaps onto the screen accompanied by a 3-D map flagging the precise locations for each list item.

You can click on 'directions' without even saying where you are and you receive an excellent map routing you pretty efectively to where you want to go from the centre of the nearest town.

Across the top of the screen are the expected 'sponsored links' in a fairly familiar format.

To appear at the top of the screen you can simply advertise with Google Adwords - but much more interesting is the option to geo-target your results on a particular town or location. Advertisers now also need to review their advertising with directories - especially Yell. Com which is being used to supply the categories and the natural or organic results.

All of this makes Adwords more complex once more and many advertisers will now need to employ an agency with people who really know what they are doing - even if only to save the immense amount of time needed to make the 'pay per click' method successful.

But well done Google, at last, for an excellent tool which will solve a problem for many businesses. I don't understand why you didn't tell agencies about it earlier so we could plan for it and promote it - but otherwise top job!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

59% of UK web users access via dial-up

BT announces its 5 millionth customer for broadband in the UK today - which sounds like a rather large number - but it's not. The UK is somewhat behind the rest of Europe which makes the UK's internet activity growth all the more impressive. In Germany, fast access (broadband and ISDN combined) is already over 60% compared with Britain's miserly 41%.

Despite this slower access rate to the web, the UK continues to outpace the continent in terms of web activity and web spend. Remarkable!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who causes 'Spam' and poor content?

Stefan Karzauninkat, Director of Quality from German-based search engine seekport demonstrated a wide range of so-called 'Spam' examples for web site owners to avoid. Many of the examples given included Google Adsense ads which brought me to ask myself the question "Who is causing the proliferation of poor quality pages on the web?".

The search engines themselves, through the 'content' networks they are building, must bear some of the responsibility for this by creating a financial imperative to go and creat such pages. Or am I missing something?
Andy Atkins-Krüger
Managing Director
Web Certain Europe Ltd
t: + 44 1904 425577

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Continued decline in email marketing open rates

The opening rate of emails has further declined from an average of 38% at the beginning of 2004 through to 33% at the end of 2004 - according to DoubleClick. This decline is largely put down to the ageing of email lists and the greater use of email 'spam' filtering systems.

Web Certain's advice to clients is to continue to focus on building subscriber lists through you web site as the performance of this email tactic substantially beats more traditional 'blast' techniques of emailing - and we do not recommend buying email lists except in very exceptional circumstances.