Offensive Michelle Obama Image Returns, Google Buys Ad To Explain

Google is buying ads to explain why an offensive image of the First Lady is back in its index and ranking so highly on searches for Michelle Obama in Google Image Search. As we reported last week, Google had originally removed the Michelle Obama image on the grounds that the site hosting the image violated Google's guidelines by serving malware to visitors. But the same image remained available on other sites that hadn't run afoul of the rules. Google's ad, shown above, leads searchers to, which apologizes to users who've "had an upsetting experienc [...]

Google Product Search Gets Review Summaries & Big Picture “Gallery” View

Google Product Search is rolling out three new features today, a new shopping "OneBox" that features popular products in certain categories of searches, a summary of product reviews and a "gallery" view option of products. Popular Products OneBox In the "normal" shopping OneBox, Google lists a variety of products along with an estimated price and number of stories it sees the product sold as, as you can see in the example for "digital cameras" below: That search shows five different camera models. A new experimental box is being tested where fewer products are listed, such [...]

Google’s Local Coupons Go Mobile, But Who’ll Bite?

Google has offered local coupons for a couple years now, but the response has never matched the promise. Neither business owners nor local searchers have embraced coupons as much as many thought they would. Maybe this will change things? Google has announced the availability of mobile coupons. All new coupons created in the Local Business Center will be mobile-friendly, and local businesses can edit their existing coupons to also be available on mobile phones. In theory, it sounds promising and logical -- shoppers would welcome the chance to use their phones for in-store discounts, [...]

Google Buys Teracent, Machine Learning Display Ad Technology

Google announced they have purchased Teracent, a company that uses machine learning to show the different display ad creatives based on dozens of factors. Google bought them to improve and better automate the display ad side of their ad serving technology. Google said: We think that this technology has great potential to improve display advertising on the web. That's why we're pleased to announce today that we've entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Teracent. The transaction, which is subject to various closing conditions, is expected to close this quarter. This can be used to [...]

Reports: Bing Gains Among Retailers, At Local Level Too

In this post I'm combining two search trends reports: early Q4 search spending data from SearchIgnite and excerpts from a terrific Q3 local search spending report from WebVisible. Both show gains by Bing. The WebVisible report also shows significant improvements by Yahoo. Based on "41 million clicks on Google, Yahoo! and Bing during Q3-Q4 of 2008 and 2009," SearchIgnite found that Bing is doing well with retailers (and e-commerce consumers): Retailers have spent 47% more on search ads on Bing in Q4 this year than during this same time period in 2008, with Bing now accounting for 8% of all [...]

Bing Censoring Chinese Search Results? Should There Be A Bing Boycott?

Boycott Microsoft Bing by Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times claims Microsoft is "sacrificing the integrity of Bing searches so as to cozy up to State Security in Beijing." It is believes that Microsoft is censoring their search results to appease the Chinese government. Microsoft responded to this criticism with their blog post named committed to comprehensive results. Microsoft said they fixed a bug over the summer and discovered a new bug over the weekend with image search and using Simplified Chinese characters outside of the PRC. Microsoft said the "bug" will be fixed before t [...]

What’s In A Brand? AOL Becomes “Aol.”

One wonders how much the branding consultancy Wolff Olins was paid to help create America Online's new "brand identity." Over the weekend the about-to-be-independent company revealed its new brand and brand philosophy. The major change (so far) is the move from uppercase to lowercase letters: from "AOL" to "Aol." Here's how the release describes that new identity: The new AOL brand identity is a simple, confident logotype, revealed by ever-changing images.  It’s one consistent logo with countless ways to reveal. The new brand identity will be fully unveiled on December 10, when AOL common [...]

The Unexpected Re-Evolution Of The Phone Call

Quick: Are you a digital marketing pro? If so, complete this sentence: In the future, advertisers will combine online media with mobile ads to drive:____________. What did you put in the blank? Let me guess. Branding, combining rich online experiences with mobile mini-experiences? E-commerce, as more people surf the Web using both devices? Coupons and promotions, taking advantage of the new, mobile media? Let me try a radical idea out on you: In the future, advertisers will combine online media with mobile ads to drive... wait for it... Phone calls! Here’s [...]

SEMPO Releases Second Annual In-House Salary Survey Results

Want to make a recession-resistant career move? Consider going to work as an in-house search marketer. According to the second annual SEMPO in-house salary survey, compensation for search marketers working on behalf of a single organization actually increased during the past year, despite a turbulent economy that took a toll on many other types of online marketing. "With the economy in the longest recession of decades, it’s heartening for our annual in-house salary survey to substantiate that search engine marketing is the employment bright spot in sales and marketing," said SEMPO Preside [...]

A Rational Plea For Paid Search Syndication Controls

Traffic value varies widely not just by the words users type into the search box, but whose search box they use. Syndication network partners vary in quality and giving advertisers control over how much they pay for traffic from each would be a win for the advertisers and the engines.

Thoughts On A “Killer” Bing-News Corp Deal & The Myth Of An “OPEC For News”

It's back, the prospect that Microsoft might try to make Rupert Murdoch happy by offering a "get listed with Bing" exclusive deal. Later, I'll revisit the topic in a coordinated fashion. But for now, I've collected a number of thoughts I've put out on Twitter, in blog comments and elsewhere. First, I'll point readers back to my post from earlier this month, Why An Exclusive Wall Street Journal (or News Corp) Deal Wouldn’t Help Bing. I still suspect that News Corp’s most valuable news content of all its properties remains the Wall Street Journal. So what happens if the WSJ is out of G [...]

Reflections On Chrome OS From A Consumer Perspective

Google hosted something of a formal "status update" on Chrome the operating system in Mountain View on Thursday. There we discovered the company is open-sourcing the code. We also found out it's intended as a netbook OS (for now) and that Google is working with several hardware partners to create a better netbook experience (full-sized keyboard, slightly larger screen). We also learned it's intended to be a secondary or supplemental machine, not a primary computer. That positioning is very important. Google Product VP Sundar Pichai wouldn't discuss the hardware partners involved with Chr [...]

Q&A With Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics Evangelist & Customer Insight Guru

Avinash Kaushik is Google’s well-known and widely respected analytics guru. In this wide-ranging interview, he talks about his passion for metrics, why they’re critical for success, and how search marketers can use analytics to take their campaigns to the next level.

SearchCap: The Day In Search, November 20, 2009

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Search In Pictures: Google México Party, One Republic @ Google & Pineapple 5KIn this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. [...] Google Appears To Be Testing New Local AdWords PresentationMike Blumenthal received a screenshot that seems to show a test of a new presentati [...]

Search In Pictures: Google México Party, One Republic @ Google & Pineapple 5K

In this week's Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. Google México Campus Party: One Republic at Google: Y! Logo Flowers: Our Vanessa Fox Running the Pineapple 5K (hope she doesn't kill me for this): [...]

Google Appears To Be Testing New Local AdWords Presentation

Mike Blumenthal received a screenshot that seems to show a test of a new presentation of Google local/geotargeted AdWords. Mike suggests this may be an expression of AdWords local extensions: This is AdWords and not Local Listing Ads, but the presentation (with the blue pushpin) is similar, signifying a local business or a physical location. Here is an example of Local Listing Ads: Postscript: Here's another image from a Chicago result sent to me by Jason Normoyle: [...]

Search Ad Keyword Lawsuit, Now Over Privacy

We have covered many of the search ad keyword lawsuits aimed between competitors or directly at the search engines in the past. Nowadays, it seems like a new suit around this topic is filed weekly. Typically these suits go after trademark violations and the like, but a new suit is focusing on a privacy legality. Suit over search-engine keywords tries new angle from the Associated Press reports Habush Habush & Rottier is suing Cannon & Dunphy for buying their name on Google and Bing. Habush Habush & Rottier is taking the privacy angle, where in Wisconsin there is the "right-to-privacy st [...]

Practical Tips To Prepare For Cyber Monday & Beyond

Cyber Monday is one of the most important (if not the most important) day to paid search professionals in America, and I've got some great tips and tricks to share on how to make the most of it. But first, I thought I'd share some history of the term I found at Wikipedia: The term "Cyber Monday" is a neologism invented by, part of the U.S. trade association National Retail Federation. It was first used within the e-commerce community during the 2005 holiday season. According to Scott Silverman, the head of, the term was coined based on research showing that 77% of online [...]

Google’s News Experiments & The Quest To Solve The “Read State” Issue

Hey news publishers. Stop acting as if your content only appears printed on dead trees and tap into the dynamics that the web offers. That's a blunt summary of advice from Josh Cohen of Google News, from a wide-ranging interview with him on Google's experiments with new ways of delivering news. Cohen, business product manager of Google News, says Google has no ultimate solution for the future of news online. It does have a vision of a super personalized news product that tracks someone's "read state" and keeps them constantly informed with updates. But to turn that vision into reality [...]

Jedi Metrics: How To Prepare For SEO Growth

Powerful the force is in you! You’re overcoming resistance to your SEO efforts. But preparing for growth requires looking within. Learn how Keyword Reach and Page Yield metrics can help you set good baselines and direct your SEO campaigns for maximum effect.

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