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Google CEO Eric Schmidt has played down calls for the search industry to tighten its grip on click fraud by declaring the problem "self-correcting".
Quoted by ZDNet from a speech at Stanford University earlier this year, the Google CEO said clickfraud could ultimately be solved by market forces, and that PPC firms should "let it happen".
The Guardian’s Jack Schofield has written a thought-provoking piece on the power of Google, specifically referring to the case of a website called sprayonmud.co.uk which was delisted from the almighty search engine in December 2005.
Jack asks whether it is ‘fair’ for Google to act as judge and jury in these cases, even suggesting that it should finance an ‘independent ombudsman’ to address complaints. He warns: “If Google’s management don’t find a way to temper the company’s power, legislators will eventually do it for them.”
The whole article seems based around the weird notion that Google owes you something. The fact is that Google owes you nothing, and everything you get from it is a bonus (either by accident or design).
How many companies in the UK are blogging? Not many, it seems, according to a list compiled by Suw Charman . Not many at all. The list isn’t fully comprehensive, but it highlights the dearth of business blogs in the UK, compared to US.
So why is it that UK and European marketers / business folk are ignoring blogs? I reckon it comes down to one of the following reasons…
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has launched its latest initiative to understand more about the online behaviour, in a bid to provide advertisers with “a holistic understanding of what, where and how people are accessing the internet”.
The Holy Grail for the IAB is to provide “a single online planning currency” for marketers, to help them “plan their online brand campaigns against traditional media”.
The IAB has teamed up with National Readership Surveys (NRS), which will add an online element to the 3,000 face-to-face interviews it does each month with random consumers: “Areas covered in the study will include; demographic information, frequency of internet usage, where people are going online and how they are accessing the internet - for example by PC or through mobile devices.”
The trouble is, I don’t think this is what online media planners need...
In 2004 we discovered that half of all onsite searches returned no results, despite the fact that products were actually available and could be found by clicking navigation links.
What did this tell us? Well firstly, it made us shudder. Half of all onsite queries returned NO results! Why was this happening? The main problem seemed to be related to poor quality metadata, but we also realised that some of the big retailers had site search tools that were perhaps not up to scratch.
Roll forward to 2006 and we figured that it was about time to investigate the site search market. What tools are available? What are the trends and issues in the marketplace? Why should site search be a priority if you’re selling online?
After the success of Alex Tew’s MillionDollarHomepage we’ve seen innumerable clones and a smattering of twists-on-a-theme. Now, we’ve spotted a new site that is gathering online and offline buzz. It allows you to buy one word as a link to your website, for a period of five years.
So how does it work, and will it work?
The latest updates to Google Sitemaps have been rolled-out, providing more helpful tools and data for webmasters. These include more depth when it comes to crawl errors, expanded query stats and a robots.txt analysis tool.
It used to be that there was this top down content pyramid in operation (operated by traditional media and the big online players), where the quantity and quality of news / content was controlled by relatively fewer organisations.
This is changing rapidly, becoming flatter and more diverse (we’re not really interested in the why’s right now), which can either be seen as an opportunity or a threat. Organisations that embrace this change are going to benefit (think Murdoch buying MySpace), so the question then becomes how one capitalises on the opportunity...
Let's look at some of the key strategic issues to consider.
Increasingly it is common knowledge on how to do best practice search engine optimisation. That doesn't make it easy, but it does mean you'll need to start thinking more creatively to keep a competitive edge.
So outside your standard SEO best practice, what more creative tactics might you use?
In the past people have commented that their ROI from clicks from Google's Adsense content network didn't match performance from Google search-referred clicks.
Smart Pricing, a click-discounting system for AdSense, was meant to help address this - so how's it working out?
eBay is launching new community tools and features to help sellers better market their products, according to a report on AuctionBytes. In particular, the online auction behemoth is adopting tagging, blogs and a community wiki.
Good move, by my reckoning...
Pay-per-click keyword prices have been falling in many sectors for the past year or so, according to the agencies and client-side marketers whom we regularly speak with in the UK, and as evidenced by the great US-focused research published by Fathom.
In 2005, my gut reaction to falling keyword prices was that it was merely a correction. After all, growth in spending on paid-search surged massively between 2004 and 2005, driven by much competition and new entrants to the PPC scene.
New advertisers – and some existing ones - may have over-egged the cake to secure a number one listing, before revising keyword bids downwards once the resulting sales didn’t provide enough (or any) return on investment. Paid-search is seen as one of the lowest hanging fruits for those new to online marketing, and PPC virgins may simply have been a bit too gung-ho to begin with.
But maybe keyword deflation suggests something more sinister, something that isn’t purely about new entrants bidding too much to attract visitors. Falling ROI may indicate a rising number of fraudulent clicks.
Is click fraud is in fact a bigger issue than the paid-search networks are prepared to let on? And is keyword deflation the smoking gun?