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Yahoo Introduced Pictures in Sponsored Ads

Erick Schonfeld at Techcrunch reports that Yahoo is now testing with pictures inside Sponsored Advertisements.

For instance, when you perform a search on Yahoo for “eBay” you will notice that the sponsored ad contains a graphical logo of Ebay, just like the above screen shoot.

Yahoo’s Spokesperson confirmed that the company is testing new search ad units that include “images, brand icons, videos, search boxes and deep links.”

My Two Cents

I certainly don’t think that this is a bad idea for Yahoo. Infact for brand queries, I think it will really help the advertiser to increase its brand recognition as the searchers will over time associate the logo/image with the brand easily.

But the downside of this feature is, the advertisers will probably spending more because the CTR (Click-Through-Ratio) will definitely be a lot higher compared to the traditional sponsored ads. So even if the advertiser ranks really well organically, people will tend to click on the sponsored ad (with a Logo) without being bothered to see the organic results down below it.


Yahoo Search Assist Adds Image Preview

Yahoo Search Logo Techcrunch reports today that Yahoo has started to show Image previews inside Yahoo Search Assist.

So basically when you to Yahoo to perform a search, you enter a keyword and Yahoo Search assist can automatically show you some other related search keywords that you may be interested in. This feature is more powerful than Google’s Autocomplete feature as it displays logical queries that are related to the search term.

But now it seems like Yahoo has taken things even further by adding Image Preview within Yahoo Search Assist. So when you are searching for something, yahoo will not only recommend you some other related search keywords but it will also show you pictures related to that keyword inside the search assist box. For instance a search for Obama displays the following:


Google Marketer’s Playbook Videos

I just stumbled upon Google Marketer’s Playbook – which is basically a series of educational talks where Googlers discuss strategies for getting the most out of AdWords and other Google products such as Google Analytics and YouTube.

Basically these videos were shot some time in April 2008 during the ad:tech digital marketing conference.

The videos are quite lengthy, But they are pretty informative and you can take away a lot of golden nuggets from here. So here goes! (If you are reading this via RSS/Email Please go here to watch the videos).

Optimization Strategies – Part 1 by Paul Coutts

Optimization Strategies – Part 2 by Geoffrey Stirling

Measuring &Tracking for Success – by Ashish Vij

Increase Your Advertising Reach – by Nicole Resz

Online Video Advertising – by Ryan Hayward & Robert Victor


Google Adwords Tactics for Tough Economic Conditions

Google Adwords TacticsTamar Weinberg at Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google has recently published yet another guide, and this time its about Pay Per Click advertising.

In this guide Google gives PPC advertisers some Top tactics for using AdWords during a Recession or economic downturn.

Here is an outline of the things that the guide elaborates on:

  1. Focus your ads on low prices and savings.
  2. Use value-related keywords.
  3. Make sure your ad groups are targeted and relevant.
  4. Don’t waste money on irrelevant clicks.
  5. Make it easy for customers to buy.
  6. Focus your money on your high performers.

So Check out the Google’s Adwords Top Tactics for Tough Times.


Google Adwords Ad Quality Videos

Inside Adwords blog reports that they have released two instructional videos that can walk you through the basics of Ads Quality and the transition to first page bids.

Ads Quality – Getting Down to the Basics

This video basically goes over the Ads Quality Basics. Once you watch it you will get some general introduction to Ads Quality, including a sweet overview of Google Adwords Quality Score and answers to some frequently asked questions about Ads Quality. If you have absolutely no idea of how this whole Quality Score thing works, This is a MUST watch video for you.

Quality-based Bidding Improvements

This video will give you more details on the recent changes made to the Ads Quality. If you wish to know more about how the change from inactive keywords to first page bids affects your campaigns, you should really take some time to watch this.

So if you have any specific tips for improving Adwords Quality score you can also share them in comments! Enjoy the Videos!


Google Street View Now Covers New Zealand

The Sydney Morning Herald & Google Blogoscoped reports that google is going live with high quality panorama photos for Google Maps for New Zealand.

Google has launched Street View in New Zealand.

Google has launched Street View in New Zealand.

Some highlights (as listed in Google Maps New Zealand page) include the Stone Store in Kerikeri, the Beehive in Wellington, and Cathedral Square in Christchurch.

Even though Google has repeatedly said that privacy shouldn’t be a concern for users as Google’s license plate and face-blurring technology has been put to use at all time. But I wonder how The Age was able to get a picture of a couple embracing outside the Colosseum in Rome using Street view.

Captured on Street View - A couple embracing outside the Colosseum

Captured on Street View ... a couple embracing outside the Colosseum

Google has shared Top 10 Street View tips for everyday use and a separate Top 10 List for businesses and organizations.


Gmail Desktop Gadget – Gmail in your Desktop

Official Gmail blog just announced that they have released a gadget that will enable you to access Gmail in your desktop!

Gmail Desktop

I know many of you (including myself) was actually waiting for this feature to come along and its finally here!

How to Get Gmail Desktop

Step 1: First you will need to get Google Desktop

Step 2: Head over here, and download + Install the Gmail Desktop gadget. (Screen shot below)

Step 3: Done!

Gmail Blog Writes:

…… it covers the basics such as reading, searching, and sending messages. You can star messages, use the same keyboard shortcuts, and we didn’t forget about contact auto-complete. It doesn’t take up much space in your sidebar or desktop, and you can also resize it to show as few or as many messages as you’d like.

With Gmail Desktop gadget you can keep more than once instance of your Gmail open at the sme time. So if you have two gmail address (for personal & work), now you can stay logged into both simultaneously.

Tip: You can bring up the gadgets in instantly by pressing the shift key twice!

So Try out Gmail Desktop Gadget now!


Search.io – A Search Engine with Tabs

Search.io Sometimes when I’m searching for something specific like say a recipe or a person, I end up opening a number of tabs in my browser in order to find the result that I want. Search engines like Google, does make it a little easy to find the top sites that I should go to for any given keyword, however it is annoying to have to open all the different results in different tabs in order to actually get to the information that I need.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could simply type in a keyword and have it search through all other other specialized search sites and directly show you the results?

Well thats exactly what Search.io does! Search.io is a relatively new meta search engine that has the capability to search of sites, group them by topics and then display them in tabs (inside the website itself), making it very simple & easy for you to find the information that you need.

Using Search.io is simple & straightforward, just enter your search term that you would like to search and select your specific area of interest. So for instance, if you are looking for chicken salad recipe you should select “Recipe” and just enter “chicken salad” into the search box and hit GO.

It will automatically open up different tabs with all chicken salad recipes / and search results from the popular recipe sites for you. There are a number of categories that you can choose from – currently they have People, Search Engines, Torrents, Blogs and many more.

To test drive this brand new tabbed search engine yourself, visit Search.io.


Top 10 Searches for 2008

Yahoo 2008 Search

Yahoo Buzz has came up with a nice report of the Top 10 Searches of this year – 2008.

Yahoo writes:

Olympian highs and politics as unusual, to celebrity hopefuls and market meltdowns: Through millions of searches and thousands of stories each day, people sought to make sense of the world around them. Take a look back at what captivated our imagination and fueled our passions in 2008, a very historic year indeed.

So here is the Top 10 Searches for 2008 in Yahoo:

  1. Britney Spears
  2. WWE
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Miley Cyrus
  5. RuneScape
  6. Jessica Alba
  7. Naruto
  8. Lindsay Lohan
  9. Angelina Jolie
  10. American Idol

To come up with the Yahoo! Year in Review, Yahoo editors analyze different search queries based upon many factors such absolute volume and growth versus previous periods, to figure out which themes and trends bubble to the surface. The Yahoo! Year in Review for top searches were based on absolute volume and growth versus previous periods on search queries.


Microsoft to Pay $20 Billion for Yahoo Search

Microsoft_yahoo_deal

After a lot of speculation earlier, The UK’s Times Online is reporting that Microsoft is in talks to acquire Yahoo’s online search business for $20 billion and install Jon Miller and Ross Levinsohn to run the company.

The whole thing may sound very reasonable to you, but the price sounds really ridiculous as Yahoo’s whole market cap right now is only about $15 billion.

Times Writes:

The proposal forms the centrepiece of a complex transaction that would see Microsoft support a new management team to take control of Yahoo. But there is no intention of Microsoft tabling another takeover bid for the web giant, after its aborted $47.5 billion offer this summer.
It is thought that Jonathan Miller, ex-chairman and chief executive of AOL, and Ross Levinsohn, a former president of Fox Interactive Media, have been lined up to lead the new management team. Senior directors at Microsoft and Yahoo are understood to have agreed the broad terms of a deal, but there is no guarantee that it will succeed.

Kara Swisher at AllThingsD reports:

A report in the Times of London in which Microsoft would buy Yahoo’s search business in a convoluted $20 billion deal that would include well-known Internet execs Jon Miller and Ross Levinsohn, is–in the words of one key player–”total fiction.”
Actually, that’s Levinsohn speaking, on the record. But that’s also the essential word from all key players regarding the Times’ report.
BoomTown has spoken to top sources at Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT) too and all scoff at such a deal now taking place or that either side has been in any such discussions of late.

As you can see one of the key player of this mysterious rumor – Ross Levinsohn has called it – ”total fiction.” But how can this be another stupid rumor when Times is reporting the deal in such detail as below:

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Microsoft would provide a $5 billion facility to the Miller and Levinsohn management team. The duo would raise an additional $5 billion from external investors.
This cash would be used to buy convertible preference shares and warrants which would give it a holding in excess of 30% of Yahoo.
The external investors would also have the right to appoint three of Yahoo’s 11 board directors. The talks with Yahoo involve Microsoft obtaining a 10-year operating agreement to manage the search business. It would also receive a two-year call option to buy the search business for $20 billion. That would leave Yahoo to run its own e-mail, messaging, and content services.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said repeatedly that they are not interested in buying Yahoo, although he has not completely ruled out a search deal of some sort.

But sources at Microsoft has said that they have been waiting for Yahoo to get another CEO in place, after Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang recently announced that he will be stepping down from his position for good.

But some folks at Yahoo has also said recently that it is not currently engaged in any kind of talks with Microsoft, even about a more likely search deal.

So Is this whole thing another rumor? Who Knows….Only time will tell! Share your views in comments!

Visit Techmeme to see all the discussion that are going around this deal.

Update

Michael Arrington of Techcrunch spoiled all the thrill by actually confirming the news with both Microsoft & Yahoo. And guess what…. both the parties completely denied all allegations!

Read What Others Are Saying about This

Another Microsoft Yahoo Deal in the Works? – ReadWriteWeb

A new, elaborate $20 billion deal for Microsoft to buy Yahoo Search? – VentureBeat

Microsoft-Yahoo Deal Back On? – Shoemoney

Report: Microsoft In Talks with Yahoo Again – The Microsoft Blog

Update: Microsoft, Yahoo reportedly in talks – The Microsoft Blog

Reports Of New Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal Hard To Believe – TechCrunch


Cuil Search Now Provides Maps & Local Results

Cuil Web Search

Cuil – the search engine which was supposed to be a “Google Killer” has almost died off after the first 1-2 months of initial buzz in the blogosphere. And now no one really seems to care about whats happening with Cuil.

According to Google Trends, there traffic has dramatically decreased by a huge margin and now even a mashup search engine like Dogpile has more users using their service.

Cuil in Google Trends

Whats New With Cuil – Maps & Local Search

According to the official Cuil Blog, it’s now offers maps & local listing within the search results. Searchers can now search for local businesses, restaurants and over 3.5 Million of other points of interest across the US.

Cuil has managed to partner with MapQuest which is a very old & renowned provider of local business listings, interactive maps etc. With the addition of this new feature, finding address, contact information or even driving direction would be relatively simpler.

Cuil Blog writes:

Searching for local results is easy. Just provide a search term and give a city, state or zipcode. You can search for a particular business name like Salt House CA, a category such as gas stations 94025 or even landmarks like AT&T Park San Francisco or Palo Alto Museums. If Cuil has found any local results for your search, they will appear in the middle column along with an interactive map, allowing you to get contact information or driving directions via MapQuest.

So I tried Searching for gas stations 94025 in both Cuil & Google and overall I think I’d still prefer Google’s results and the way the present it to their users. Screen Shot Below:

cuil-local-search

Google Local Search

So what do you think? Can Cuil buy their way up by providing more useful features for their users? Will you give Cuil a Try? Share in Comments!


PicClick – Visual Search Engine for Shopping

Its holiday season and you are searching online for the perfect gift for your loved ones – but sadly traditional search engines might not be your best option. Because they return so many results that its very tedious to open up each results and then compare the value, price etc. Moreover people likes to shop ‘visually’ rather than reading a bunch of text.

When you walk by a shop that has put up some of the latest items on their display, you often get attracted to them. The reason is plain simple, Display items has the two most important information that can trigger your buying behavior – The visual display of the product itself, and its price.

PicClick – A Visual Search Engine aimed for shoppers uses the same formula. You just type in what you want and the search engine pulls data from Amazon & Ebay and displays you all the items with each of their individual price at the bottom. You can also search within a certain price range (e.g. From $25-$100) and even localize your search by providing your zip code.

For instance, I performed a search for Clothing and Accessories and PicClick showed me the following:

PicClick Search - Visual Shopping

You can refine your search by further adding keywords or you can use the tab on the top to see results from only Ebay or Amazon.

So try it out today and share your views in comments!


7 Things All Bloggers Should be Thankful For

Yes, Its Thanksgiving! I thought it would be cool to list down few things that all bloggers should be thankful for! The list may not necessarily apply to only bloggers, as I’m sure many webmasters who have been in the web for a while has taken benefits of the services that I’m about to mention here. These are the top 7 things that have enabled the bloggers to be what they are:

1. WordPress – Blogging Platform

Wordpress Blogging Platform WordPress is the Open-Source blogging platform that is used to power thousands of blogs that are out on the web. Its a completely free but priceless at the same time. WordPress has enabled people with no-knowledge of any web technology or language such as – html, to put up their blog and make a history on the web. WordPress was developed in early 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and the name “WordPress” was suggested by Matt’s friend – Christine Selleck. WordPress is now a common platform for any blogs on the web, including the popular media blogs like – New York Times, CNN, ZDnet etc.

2. Firefox – Web Browser

Firefox Web Browser Firefox – a open source web browser by Mozilla Corporation is the preferred browser of many bloggers. Mainly because of its stability,speed & its open source support – blogging without Firefox is just unthinkable. There are hundreds of free Firefox Addons available for bloggers that makes blogging a lot easier. Firefox has gained massive popularity worldwide with a 19.97% of usage share as of October 2008, making it the second-most popular browser after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The firefox community is so active that you just can’t get enough of this browser. After booting up the PC, all a user needs is a Firefox as a user can get everything inside – there is an addon for everything.

3. Google – Search Engine

google-search-engine Google – A search engine that was only supposed to be a Masters research project of two Stanford students turned out to be the most popular search engine with over 60% of the world’s search market share. Google produces the most fresh & relevant search results that a blogger finds useful while doing research. They also have some useful services like Google News, Google Blog Search & Google Alerts that enables bloggers to get all the latest buzz on their fingertips.

4. Google Adsense – Blog Monetization

google-adsense-logo Google Adsense is the most popular contextual-advertising platform made by Google that is now being used to monetize thousands of websites that are on the Internet. Google has made really easy for the bloggers to Signup for an Adsense account and Start earning money right away by displaying ‘content-related’ text/image advertisements that are comes from the advertiser inventory of Google Adwords Content Network. Because of it’s plain & simple installation (copying a piece of code) and hassle free use, bloggers are more motivated to blog as it has opened a new source of income for them. Bloggers don’t need to maintain their own advertisers inventory nor they need to go and look for advertisers who are interested to advertise on their blog. Google Adsense is the answer to all.

5. Social Media  – Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious & Twitter

Social Media The Social Sites like – Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious & Twitter has really helped the bloggers to get their content out there right in front of the community. Digg has been a Pioneer in Social News for years. Everyday over 800,000 people visits Digg to get the user voted fresh news on Technology, Politics, Lifestyle and more. StubmleUpon currently has over 6465000 active users who are constantly finding out new stuffs on the internet and helping others to find it. These two sites alone drives substantial amount of traffic for blogs to have a sustainable lifecycle and also helps to grow a quality reader base over time. Bloggers often need to bookmark a lot of pages that they come across and that makes an awesome bookmarking service like delicious.com a blogger’s perfect companion. Twitter, a macro blogging platform is very popular among bloggers as it has made it very easy to bring interactivity in a static blog by communicating with the blog readers & other bloggers on the network.

5. Flickr – Photo Sharing

Flickr Logo
Flickr.com – A premium photo sharing service by Yahoo! is a Photo Blogger’s best friend! Flickr makes it very easy to upload, Organize and Tag Photos. As of November 2008, Flickr currently hosts more than 3 billion images. Flickr provides many ready-made widgets for blogs, that bloggers can use to show off their photo albums or sets in their blog. The Free account at Flickr allows a user to upload upto 100 MB of photos each month, users with a lot of photos can opt in for a Pro account (US$24.95/year) which allows unlimited photo & video storage.

6. Youtube – Video Sharing

Youtube Youtube – A online video sharing website has totally started the trend of Vblogging. Millions of viewers come to Youtube everyday to watch user-generated videos along with videos made by the professional production house & media companies. Whenever any blogger has any video, screen cast to share – Youtube is often the best choice due to its ease of use & embedding capability and having a free & straight forward distribution among viewers.

7. Mint – Web Analytics

Mint Analytics It is essential for a blogger to keep track of his visitors, source of traffic and many other important statistical information that can help the blogger to understand the current ‘health’ of the blog. Mint is an excellent tool that basically works as a self-hosted web site analytics program. It can track Visits, referrers, popular pages, search keywords and many more that can really help a blogger to do some quantitative analysis.

Certainly there are a lot more things a blogger should be thankful for and if we were to put them all in one place, its likely that the list will be endless! There are new tools & softwares developed everyday that is helping the bloggers in every step of the way.

So what are some of your favorite tools? What are you thankful for? Share in comments!


Alexa Web Search is Shutting Down

alexa-web-searchSo the day has finally come, Amazon has decided to shut down their Alexa Web Search Service.

Here is the copy of the email that Alexa sent out do the developers (Source: TechCrunch):

Dear Alexa Developer,
The Alexa Web Search service will no longer be available to new customers as of November 26, 2008. Use of the service is low, so we are shifting our priorities to other areas where we can provide better service to AWS customers.
The Alexa Web Search service will continue to be operational for 60 days until January 26, 2009. The ProgrammableWeb website offers a list of web services that provide web search.
We apologize for the inconvenience to you.
Thank you,
The Alexa Web Services Team

I tried visiting the official page of Alexa Web Service and I was welcomed with the following notice:

alexa-web-search

Well I guess it was for Good, who was using Alexa web search anyway? They had such strong competitors like Google, Yahoo & MSN so I guess they have made the right decision to close the service and focus on things that matters.


Toby Coppel Decides to Leave Yahoo

Toby Coppel Yahoo Executive Its looks like Yahoo is losing all their big guns – as today Kara Swisher of AllThingsD reports that Toby Coppel, Managing Directory of Yahoo Europe & Canada has decided to leave Yahoo. Kara writes that this departure is not related to recent Jerry Yang’s decision of stepping down from the CEO position of Yahoo.

Toby Coppel’s job covered the major Western European markets (including UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia), as well as Canada. His successor is going to be Rich Riley, who is currently SVP of Europe’s Advertiser & Publisher Group of Yahoo, Previously Riley was the head of Yahoo’s Small & Medium Business Group in the U.S.

Toby Coppel, who has joined Yahoo during the term of Yahoo’s CEO Terry Semel, has successfully managed European operations for Yahoo for well over 18 months. He has spent a lot of time restructuring and making massive cuts for Yahoo.

Coppel says:

“I have been transitioning our European business, restructuring it and making it stronger, as Yahoo is moving to product development on a global platform,” said Coppel. “While there is more work, there is now a strong team in place, focused on going forward and it needs to spread its wings.”

Looks like all the Top-level executives are leaving Yahoo for good, leaving the troubled search giant alone.

More discussion going at Techmeme.