Twenty Year FTC “Privacy Audit” Intended To Punish, Make Example Of Google

google-buzz-ftc-featured As you read earlier the US Federal Trade Commission concluded its investigation of Google over the company's supposedly "deceptive privacy practices in Google's rollout of its Buzz social network." My view after talking to people at Google following the Buzz launch is that Google was not intentionally seeking to deceive users. Rather it was overzealous with the rollout and underestimated how strongly people would feel about privacy. Not Worse than Facebook There's nothing more egregious here than comparable privacy screw-ups Facebook has made in the past. Google Buzz was a botched rollout wi [...]

Deadline Threatens Google Maps’ Existence In China

Maybe the sequel to John Adams' seminal modern opera "Nixon in China" should be called "Google in China." Its on-again-off-again dance with the world's largest and most strictly controlled internet market is the stuff of melodrama. Renewing Google Maps' License The latest episode in the ongoing saga poses the question whether Google will be able to renew its mapping license there. Google's right to exist as a search engine in China continues through 2012. However distinct product Google Maps must comply with new, more stringent "national security" considerations to continue to operating. [...]

Google Settles FTC Charges Over Buzz, Agrees To 20 Years Of Privacy Audits

google-buzz-ftc-featured Google has agreed to have independent privacy audits over the next 20 years, to settle an FTC investigation into wrong doing over its Google Buzz product. The FTC has release a statement where Google agreed to allow independent audits of how Google handles privacy controls. After Google Buzz launched there was a lot of concern of the privacy controls, which lead to an FTC investigation. Google eventually settled for $8.5 million with a few plaintiffs and lawyers. Now, Google has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission for using "deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promi [...]

Google Aims To Boost Gmail Relevance With “Priority Inbox” For Ads

The signals used for Gmail's priority inbox will soon be employed to tailor advertising in the app to more match users' interests. The company says it will also be testing offers and coupons from local businesses in Gmail. The system will use Gmail user's habits -- whether they read messages quickly or mark them as unimportant, for example -- to determine whether the topics covered by the emails are of interest. For example, if a user opens every message related to cast-iron cookware, but sends to spam or deletes everything that references gardening supplies, they'll soon see more ads about [...]

SMX Advanced Agenda Posted – Super Early Bird Rates Expire Saturday

smx-advanced-2011-featured Check out the Search Marketing Expo - SMX Advanced Seattle agenda, featuring two days of experts-only sessions, keynotes and the highest-level networking anywhere. Then register! Super Early Bird rates expire this Saturday. Fluent in search marketing? SMX Advanced is for you. The editors of Search Engine Land have packed sessions with expert-level tips to drive traffic, increase conversions and boost ROI. Topics include: Really Complicated Technical SEO Infrastructure Issues Google Survivor Tips Human vs. Machine: What’s the Best Way to Manage Paid Search? The SoLoMo Revol [...]

Why Affiliate Direct Linking Activity Has Doubled

Direct linking, sometimes also referred to as ‘URL Hijacking’, occurs on paid search when affiliate marketers assume the identity in paid ads of the represented merchant. Direct linking occurs when the affiliate uses the merchant’s website as the display URL, with an affiliate link as the destination URL. The effect of this tactic is that the affiliate does not need to operate a website because it is directing traffic straight from the search page to the merchant’s website. This tactic, while economical, efficient, and easy for the affiliate, creates problems for merchants. Co [...]

How To Convert Website Visitors To Facebook Likes

Because of its intrinsic relationship with the Open Graph protocol, there’s even more compelling reasons to use the Facebook like button than to use the official Tweet button. Like the Tweet button, the Like button is easy to install, and is highly standardized. Furthermore, the Like button is tied directly to Facebook’s analytics platform, Insights, which can provide you with valuable information about each Like button’s performance. Display Type The Like button is available in three formats. Standard, which shows the name of a visitor’s friend that has liked the page (if any f [...]

How To Convert Website Visitors Into Twitter Followers

Where the standard Tweet button gives you little control over the button’s appearance, functionality or call-to-action (you can Tweet, Tweet or Tweet) you have virtually unlimited options when encouraging users to follow you on Twitter. This is because the following action takes place on Twitter itself, rather than on your website:  you’re essentially encouraging a user to click on a link. As such, there’s more optimization and testing opportunities. Call-to-Action Your call-to-action can take the form of a text link, a linked graphic or both. This gives you the opportunity to crea [...]

How To Convert Website Visitors Into Facebook Fans

Whereas Twitter direct follow buttons are not easy to implement, Facebook makes it simple to "Like" a Page on Facebook (i.e., to become a "fan" of the person or organization represented by that Facebook Page) without actually needing to visit Facebook. The alternate method of enticing visitors to become fans is simply to link to the Page on Facebook, where there is a prominent Like button at the top of the Page. There are advantages and drawbacks to each method. The obvious benefit of a direct Like is that the user is connected in one step, without the danger of failing to click on th [...]

How To Convert Website Visitors To Tweeters

The official tweet button from Twitter is easy to implement, aggregates direct tweets and retweets in its counter, and includes a mechanism to encourage following (discussed below). These features almost certainly outweigh the slender benefits of employing third-party tweeting tools (the main benefit being more flexibility in styling the tweet button's appearance). There are a number of things that can be tested in order to improve the number of Tweets a page receives. Display Type The Tweet button is available in three versions, all versions sharing the same color, size and label ("Twee [...]

7 Approaches To Engagement Conversion, 5 Explicit Tactics For Twitter & Facebook

When you successfully encourage a visitor to share content they discover on your website, that action strongly recommends your website to that visitor’s friends, extends its reach, and increases its visibility in the search engines. That same visitor may also be persuaded to make a long-term connection with you or your business, forging an incredibly valuable bond with you or your brand. For these reasons, the structure of almost any contemporary website should advance the goal of converting casual visitors into engaged participants. For Twitter sharing a resource directly from its [...]

How Paid Social Media Advertising Can Work For In-House Programs

In-house search marketers are often struggling to find ways to grow their responsibilities. For many, the search engine marketing program itself will only get so big or complicated before it settles into a healthy size for the organization that runs like a well-oiled machine. In-house marketers who are looking to grow their skills, expand their responsibilities and experiment with something new should make a case for testing paid social media marketing. Here are some ways you can put in-house marketing skills to work on campaigns to drive direct sales, fans, likes, and followers! Test The [...]

Google Talk Guru Brings Search To Instant Messaging

Google Talk Guru is a new experiment that tries to turn the instant messaging interface into a search engine of sorts. It was just added to Google Labs today, and is very much a lab-level project. There are a very limited number of search commands that currently work in Google Talk Guru. As you can see from the screenshot above, searches for international times aren't supported (#1 and #2 above), but weather search (#3) and even a simple web search (#4) are. The web search is kinda like the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on -- it returns only the first result for your search quer [...]

Google To Let AdWords Advertisers Target Contextually By Category

Google has announced additional targeting capabilities for ads appearing on its Display Network, allowing advertisers to choose categories, rather than keywords, to trigger their ad's appearance. Given AdWords' genesis as a search-oriented advertising system, keywords have always been the main mechanism for targeting ads, though additional refinements and options have long been available. Now, Google seems to be acknowledging that there are other good ways of contextually, especially for advertisers looking for awareness, rather than for immediate sales. The new targeting capabilities w [...]

SMX Advanced Super Early Bird Rates Expire this Saturday – Register Now!

Ready to exchange ideas, influence the industry and build your network? Join the most accomplished search marketers in the world – attend Search Engine Land's SMX Advanced Seattle, June 7-8. Register by this Saturday, April 2nd, and you’ll receive the best rates offered for the only conference designed exclusively for experienced search marketers. Chose from in-depth session on SEO, paid search, social media and more. Launched in 2008, SMX Advanced has sold out every year since. Don’t miss out! Secure your spot and get the lowest rates available — register today! [...]

SearchCap: The Day In Search, March 29, 2011

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Google’s Android To Dominate Globally In 2011: ReportTech consulting firm IDC has predicted that Google’s mobile operating system will become the dominant mobile platform this year, achieving a global market share of 39.5 percent. The next in line would be former global leader Nokia with 20.9 percent. Apple comes in at 15.7 percent. Windows Phones to Overtake Apple (via Nokia) These figures [...] GetGlue Integrates With FourSquare, Announces [...]

Google’s Android To Dominate Globally In 2011: Report

Tech consulting firm IDC has predicted that Google's mobile operating system will become the dominant mobile platform this year, achieving a global market share of 39.5 percent. The next in line would be former global leader Nokia with 20.9 percent. Apple comes in at 15.7 percent. Windows Phones to Overtake Apple (via Nokia) These figures are very aggressive in terms of Android's share and Nokia's decline. But they're consistent with the remarkable growth that Android has enjoyed over the past year. By 2015 IDC projects that Google will own 45.4 percent of the global smartphone market. Th [...]

GetGlue Integrates With Foursquare, Announces Sponsorship With NFL Network, HBO Sports & More

getglue-checkin-glee Major announcement today from GetGlue headquarters in New York City-- besides an update to its website,, and its iPhone app, GetGlue is now integrating with Foursquare to allows users to check into both the sports event they are watching as well as the location they are watching it from. GetGlue makes it easy to share their sports related check-ins via Foursquare and Twitter and more check-ins will lead to sports-related stickers, Fan and SuperFan status, and even Guru designation. More Sports Partnerships Besides Foursquare integration, GetGlue announced partnerships with the [...]

A How To Guide For Submitting Content To Fark

Unlike the 100% voting based social aggregation sites like Digg and Reddit, the website (Fark) has articles chosen by editors, not the Fark members. Much like Search Engine Land’s social news site,, Fark allows for users to submit articles for consideration, and the best submitted are selected. With a monthly traffic ranging between 700,000 and 1 million unique visitors, Fark is a social site can help to drive traffic and links. Unlike many of the up-and-coming social sites, Fark is tested and true, operating since 1999 and still staying strong. So how can you b [...]

Amazon Preempts Google Music With Cloud Player Streaming For Android

It would appear that Amazon is becoming Google's best frenemy. The company launched its well designed Android app store last week and yesterday surprised a lot of people by introducing Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. No, it apparently doesn't work on Apple devices. Beating Google Music to market it offers music storage and streaming via PC and Android devices. There's 5 GB of free storage (more if you buy music from Amazon) and inexpensive storage plans beyond that, starting at $20. As with iTunes users can upload and store their music collection. It also allows hosting of docume [...]

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