Yahoo Search Goes Secure, Taking Referrer Data — An Indicator Of Yahoo’s Popularity — With It

yahoo-featured By default, searches on Yahoo.com are now done through a secure server. That means more protection for searchers but less data for search marketers about how they are receiving traffic. Most visits from Yahoo done via search will appear as if someone came to a site directly. As a result, Yahoo's apparent popularity as a traffic driving source will appear to plunge. Yahoo also has left a loophole to keep sending search data to advertisers. Yahoo Makes Secure Search The Default is our story on Marketing Land with more details about the shift. In summary, it's still rolling out and by M [...]


Google Remarketing Ads Found To Violate Canadian Privacy Law; To Revamp Ad Review System By June

google-canada-featured Google has agreed to several concessions after an investigation by Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner found Google in violation of Canada's privacy rights for the use of sensitive health history in remarketing campaigns. The investigation began last January, when a man complained that his personal health history was being used for ad targeting purposes.  After searching for and visiting sites related to medical devices for sleep apnea, he was retargeted with display ads for those devices when he browsed the web. The Commissioner's office has agreed with the man that Google [...]


EU Wants More Search Concessions, Google Defies French Authority

Google Europe Round and round she goes. The European Commission is seeking a final round of "concessions" from Google in an 11th hour effort to settle potential antitrust claims against the company. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made public statements asserting that Google needs to deliver additional, revised proposals within weeks to avoid a formal antitrust proceeding. What we have now is a kind of high stakes game of chicken. For well over a year there has been a very public back and forth between Google, the European Commission and Google's rivals, who object to the various proposals [...]


VA Court Delivers Blow To Yelp, Free Speech Of Users

Yelp logo A Virginia state court of appeal has ruled that Yelp must disclose the real identities of seven individuals who posted anonymous, critical reviews of an Alexandria, Virginia carpet cleaning business, Hadeed Carpet. Yelp and free speech advocacy groups have decried the decision. Hadeed said that he didn't believe that any of the reviews came from actual customers and sued to get Yelp to reveal the identities of the individuals in question. Yelp refused and the court granted Hadeed's lawyer's motion to compel. Yelp appealed and the appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling (full o [...]


DuckDuckGo Has Biggest Day Ever In 2014 With More Than 4 Million Queries On January 7th

duckduckgo-featured The Guardian reported yesterday DuckDuckGo, the search engine that keeps user searches private, is now up to four million queries per day, with over a billion queries performed on the anonymous search engine during 2013. Prior to the PRISM scandal that revealed the NSA was regularly tracking searches on major search engines, DuckDuckGo averaged approximately 1.5 million queries a day says the Guardian. "In the weeks and months following the Guardian's publication of the NSA files, the number of [DuckDuckGo] users more than doubled," writes Guardian reporter Alex Hern. The Guardian claims [...]


Google’s Latest Transparency Report Shows Rise In Content Removal Requests From Russia & Turkey

google-transparency-report Google announced today it has released its eighth Transparency Report since 2010 when the search engine began providing data on government requests to remove content. According to the latest Transparency Report covering the first half of 2013, Google saw a "significant" increase in the number of requests from Turkey and Russia, with Russia's requests to remove content more than double the number of requests the country filed throughout 2012. For the US, Google says it saw a 70 percent increase in the number of content removal requests compared to the second half of 2012. The site receive [...]


Google Maps Makes Exception & Speeds Up Process To Replace Image Of Shooting Victim

Google maps icon Google Maps is making an exception to its process for reviewing image removal requests, and speeding up the actions needed to replace a satellite image of a 14-year old shooting victim. Following a story broadcast on KTVU-TV, a CNN affiliate in Oakland, California and a report on CNN.com, Google claims it will take approximately eight days to remove the image of the 2009 crime scene involving the slain teenager. According to an update on the story from CNN.com, vice president of Google Maps Brian McClendon released the following the statement: Our hearts go out to the family of this young [...]


Google Claims Government Requests For User Information Have Increased Over 100% Since 2010

google-transparency-report Google released an updated Transparency Report today, claiming government requests for user information have increased more than 100 percent since it began posting transparency reports in 2010. According to Google, this is the eighth update to its transparency report in the last three years. Google said the climb in requests is in part a result of an increase in the number of governments wanting information, "More governments have made requests than ever before. And these numbers only include the requests we're allowed to publish." The top three governments requesting information between [...]


Don’t Want Your Searches Encrypted? Add ?nord=1 To Your URL Parameters

Google logo Not interested in having Google encrypt and secure your searches for some reason? Well, now there is a way to stop Google from forcing you to search using Google SSL search, as it made everyone use last month. All you need to do is add ?nord=1 to the Google URL parameter. For example, searching Google for SSL would bring you to this secure URL. Trying to remove the https in front of it, will still bring you to the https version. https://www.google.com/search?q=ssl But if you add ?nord=1 and drop the https, the URL will stick on the non-SSL version. http://www.google.com/?nord=1#nor [...]


New Disconnect Tool Enables Private Searches Without Logging Out Of Online Accounts

Disconnect Logo_Oct2013 Online security software provider Disconnect launched their latest search tool, Disconnect Search this week. According to the announcement, Disconnect Search allows users to perform private searches on sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing via their address bar or omnibox, "without having to change their behavior." Disconnect says their new tool routes search queries through the company's servers, making it appear as if the queries are, "coming from Disconnect instead of a specific user's computer." Disconnect's technology also prevents search engines from passing along keywords to the websites [...]


Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks

keywords-not-provided-featured In the past month, Google quietly made a change aimed at encrypting all search activity -- except for clicks on ads. Google says this has been done to provide "extra protection" for searchers, and the company may be aiming to block NSA spying activity. Possibly, it's a move to increase ad sales. Or both. Welcome to the confusing world of Google secure search. Two Years Ago: Secure Searching For Logged-In Users In October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google. The reason given was privacy. Google said it wanted to block anyone who might potentially be ea [...]


Could You Walk In Google’s Shoes? Making Tough Calls With Search Listings

It's pretty easy to sit back and slam Google for how you think it should make decisions when it comes to search listings. It's much harder to actually make those decisions, when you have a deeper understanding of all the implications involved. To experience this better, here's a chance to put yourself in Google's shoes and make some of the tough decisions. Below is a video from a special session we did at our SMX West search marketing conference earlier this year. Patrick Thomas, Google's search policy specialist and Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam fighting team, suggested a v [...]


Google Says European Law Does Not Support Mosley Lawsuit To Censor Search Results

Google Europe Yesterday, Google posted a plea on their Google Europe blog asking European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley. The lawsuit requests that Google build a filter to identify and block what Mosley claims is unlawful content. A report on Bloomberg.com claims Mosley's lawyers filed a suit in a French Court, asking Google to create filters that could identify and remove content referencing "Nazi-themed" sex parties in association with Mosley.  A lawsuit has also been filed in Hamburg, Germany. In response to the lawsuit, Google's associate general cou [...]


Search Privacy Low On List Of Privacy Concerns For US Internet Users

search privacy Despite the fact that search history can be so revealing about people's desires and interests, a new survey of US internet users finds that concern over search privacy -- while significant -- still ranks far behind other online privacy issues. The survey by the Pew Research Center covered 1,000 adults in the US, was conducted last month and asked a wide-range of questions about online privacy. You can read it here, and also see our coverage on Marketing Land: Report: Almost 90 Percent Concerned About Online Privacy & Trying To Avoid Advertisers. One part asked people to rank types o [...]


Privacy Groups Want Judge To Reject Google’s $8.5 Million Settlement Over Search Privacy Lawsuit

google-legal-240px Last month, Google agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund over a class-action lawsuit by two searchers who accused the company of transmitting their personal information to third parties without their consent or knowledge that the information was being shared. The final court approval of the proposed settlement was scheduled for today, but five US privacy groups have asked the court to reject the preliminary settlement agreement. Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse wrote a joint l [...]


With Amazing Chutzpah Google Claims It Can’t Be Sued In UK Courts

Google legal Last year Google was embroiled in controversy over its circumvention of the Safari browser's cookie-privacy settings (on the iPhone and beyond). As a result the company paid a $22.5 million fine to settle the case with the US FTC approximately a year ago. The FTC summarizes the facts that lead to the settlement: [F]or several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of [...]


Google Agrees To Settle Lawsuit Over Passing Search Queries To Third Parties

google-legal-240px Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that stems from two searchers accusing the company of sharing their search queries with third parties without user content or knowledge. As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund, with that money going to seven groups/organizations on the condition that they agree to use the money for public education and/or research related to protecting online privacy. In October 2010, Paloma Gaos sued Google because the company "transmitted user search queries to third parties without knowledge or consent [...]


Search Engines Ixquick & StartPage Double Up On Security Measures With 2 New Encryption Standards

Online security, privacy On the heels of the US PRISM scandal, private search engines Ixquick and its partner site StartPage are leveraging new encryption methods that offer higher levels of security beyond the standard SSL encryption. With a combined four millions searches daily, Ixquick and StartPage boast they are the first search engines in the world to employ "Perfect Forward Secrecy" (PFS) along with TLS 1.1. and 1.2, creating a more secure network around their search traffic data. "We're setting the standard for encryption in the post-PRISM world," claims StartPage developer and privacy expert Dr. Kather [...]


StartPage, Ixquick Passed 4 Million Daily Searches On Monday

startpage-ixquick-200px StartPage and Ixquick, sister search engines that offer private searching, announced that they surpassed four million daily direct searches on Monday. The announcement comes about three weeks after the parent company announced that they reached three million daily searches for the first time. Ixquick CEO Robert Beens credits the higher search activity to public reaction to the ongoing NSA/PRISM surveillance scandal. People are making major changes in their on-line habits and looking for ways to protect their private information from US government surveillance. Our fans especially apprec [...]


Duck Duck Go’s Post-PRISM Growth Actually Proves No One Cares About “Private” Search

duckduckgo-featured Look out, Google! Duck Duck Go is on the rise, posting a 50% traffic increase in just eight days. Is this proof people want a "private" search engine, in the wake of allegations the PRISM program allows the US government to read search data with unfettered access? Nope. Google has little to worry about. People don't care about search privacy, and Duck Duck Go's growth demonstrates this. Don't get me wrong. If you ask people about search privacy, they'll respond that it's a major issue. Big majorities say they don't want to be tracked nor receive personalized results. But if you look at [...]


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