Timeline of the Google PC Rumor

So the Google PC/Cube didn’t materialize at CES. If you’re interested in knowing how the rumor started and spread, take a look at this article from Technology Review.

Many Waste Money on Pay Per Click Advertising

Kevin Newcomb has word from scholars at Stanford Business School that many PPC advertisers are paying much more than they need to.

“We want to educate advertisers about the fact that in some sense they are being taken advantage of,” Ostrovsky said in a statement. “Under the current mechanism, if they don’t think carefully about their bidding strategies, they can end up paying a lot more to the search engines than they need to.”

That’s exactly why we’re seeing more companies outsource their pay-per-click management to SEM firms. Sure, according to the SEMPO study, two-thirds of companies handle their PPC “in-house” but that doesn’t mean they fully understand how to get the best out of it.

Google Facing Problems?

Scott Kessler of Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded Google from hold to sell. In this Business Week article, he explains many of his reasons, including:

When it comes to the building competition, part of what they’re trying to do is diversify beyond Internet search advertising, but they are also trying to make their offerings more inviting and sticky to users. One of Google’s shortcoming is that even though users like its search offering, they don’t spend a lot of time on it. We’re seeing Google trying to provide more personalized services — enabling users to sign in, use e-mail, and access content that’s preselected and determined by the user.

A Look at Google’s Sales Team

BusinessWeek offers a glimpse of a typical sales meeting between Google and one of its larger clients.

The meeting with mutual fund company Vanguard offers an interesing insight and shows how aggressive Google is in grabbing as much of a the marketing budget they can.

Two New Podcast Ad Networks

ClickZ has details of the launch of two new advertising networks for podcasts – Kiptronic and Podtrac.

Google Fights for Your Privacy

According to the Mercury News, the Department of Justice has filed papers to try and force Google to comply with a subpoena issued last year which includes a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

Why does the DOJ want to get its hands on this information?

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

Forbes on Vertical Search Engines

Forbes takes a look at the growing trend of vertical search engines. Oodle, Jobster, and LookSmart are among the many featured in the story.

The biggest challenge for vertical search engines?

“With vertical search, by definition, you need to go to one engine for jobs, another for travel, and another for business supplies,” said Rosenberg. “I think the results at these vertical search engines have to be significantly superior to Google and Yahoo! for consumers to overcome that inconvenience.”