ChaCha-Ching! Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Among Group Investing $6 Million in Human-Powered Search Engine

It looks like we’ll be hearing more of human-powered search engine ChaCha as they today announce they have secured $6 million in private funding. The group of investors includes…

…Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment firm of Jeff Bezos, with additional participation from Rod Canion, founding CEO of Compaq Computer, and Jack Gill, veteran Silicon Valley investor, founder of Vanguard Ventures and current partner at Maven Ventures

ChaCha launched in September 2006 and claims to have 20,000 people signed-up as user guides. They don’t reveal how many people are actually using the search engine, but claim they have “already garnered user traffic at levels that exceed many first generation search engines”. Anyone care to guess what that number would be?

Sex Vs. Zune

After I announced I’d be giving away a free Zune MP3 player to one lucky member of Marketing Pilgrim’s MyBlogLog community, Shoemoney decided he’d throw down the gauntlet.

His challenge? That sex still sells and people who join MyBlogLog are essentially only one step above MySpace users (my words, not his), and would rather see a photo of an attractive girl in a tight top, than win a Zune.

It’s an interesting challenge, and while I’m more interested in building community members than beating Jeremy, it will be fun to see who “wins” this social experiment.

So, in the meantime, I’ll ask you. Are you that easily swayed by a picture of a pretty girl? Or does old fashioned bribery work best? ;-)

Thanks for adding an extra twist Jeremy!

Sentiment Analysis for Internet Explorer; Comparing to Firefox


Digg!

This is another post in the “IE 7 Sucks” series. This time, I’ve been poking around at data that suggests IE 7 really is crap, and it’s not just readers of Marketing Pilgrim, that think so.

Taking a look at Opinmind, we learn that only 24% of bloggers have a positive sentiment towards Internet Explorer, compared to 69% positive with Firefox.

Switching to Technorati, we discover 632 bloggers have stated “internet explorer sucks“, compared to 274 who think the same of Firefox.

Using Google Trends, it’s clear that more people are looking to download Firefox, compared to IE. In contrast, more users are looking to uninstall Internet Explorer, than FF.

Will Pligg Be the End of Digg?

An interesting conversation is going on between Lyndon Antcliff and Jason Calacanis about whether Digg can withstand the onslaught of clones using Pligg.

While Lyndon demonstrates just how many Digg clones are gaining traction, Jason suggests Digg will remain strong as it is focused on an important vertical – young, tech males.

Calacanis also explains why Digg needs to be careful not to mess with the the formula that attracts young techies.

When you build a huge, passionate community like digg has (and Fark, Slashdot, Engadget, iVillage, and the Well have), you live and die with that group. If digg wants to go big they should start a second digg for women, and one for politics–they shouldn’t do it as part of digg.

Google Now Letting You Point a Domain to Blogger

This is good news for all bloggers that are using Google’s Blogger service and hosting via their free BlogSpot.com service.

Nathan reports Blogger has introduced a new service that allows you to point any domain name to Google’s DNS servers (ghs.google.com) and get all the benefits of using a TLD (top level domain).

With domain names costing less than ten bucks a year, it’s a quick and easy way to get free hosting for you blog, while branding it via your own domain name. It’s not as good as hosting the blog yourself, but an easy alternative for new bloggers not wanting the hassle of setting up their own hosting and using FTP.

MySpace Claims 85% of all Teen Social Network Users

A new Pew Internet & American Life Project survey of U.S. teens aged 12 to 17, reveals 55% of those with internet access visit social networking sites and of those 85% prefer MySpace.

Hidden in the data is a clue of how these teens will help ensure social networks become key to marketers in the future. Just 5% of those surveyed admit they don’t actually participate – they just “lurk”. With 95% of them actively engaging their peers, those marketers not including social networks and word-of-mouth in their marketing mix, will find it increasingly difficult to reach the consumer of tomorrow.

Via Reuters.

MarketSmart Interactive Closes Doors

It’s a sad day for all of us who helped grow KeywordRanking/WebSourced – now MarketSmart Interactive – as I’ve heard the company closed the doors on its Morrisville offices at exactly 2:30pm today.

Since I left the company in July of 2005, the company has been on a steady decline, seemingly laying off employees each month and steadily losing clients. It’s been sad to watch the events unfold from the sidelines, but even outside observers saw the writing on the wall. Maybe now the company has finally closed the doors, I’ll write up an obituary for what was once a great search marketing firm.

In the meantime, there’s going to be a lot of talented SEMs looking for work. A reliable source tells me that the parent company, Think Partnership, kept on just six employees and offered no severance to those fired (despite many having worked there for 5+ years).