Yahoo Ready to Get Google

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel and acting CFO Susan Decker say that last year was devoted to fixing their paid search services. This year will be Panama’s time to shine. Or maybe next year. Makes me think of a euphemism I heard in my brief stint in the corporate world, the “push to cash positive.” (Except Yahoo’s been cash positive all along.)

They attribute their impending success to Panama, specifically its improved relevance. Yahoo’s stock has increased 20% this year as positive reports on Panama have flowed in. Their stock is actually performing better than Google’s right now. However, Decker states that the switch to Panama won’t affect profits until Q2.

It’s not overly optimistic, but it’s a lot better than what she was saying last year. You remember:

Google China Book Search Expands

Google is in China making headway, as reported here and in Search Engine Land in the last few days.

Get ready for even more progress: Google China is expanding the scope of its book search to include Chinese-language literature. From tomorrow’s/today’s (that pesky date line)

Google actually launched the China service in June 2006, but it only targeted English-language books and was tasked with first finding partners. Tsinghua University Publishing House and Juvenile and Children Publishing House became its first batch of partners for the program, and it was free to publishing houses, printing institutions and individual writers.

Baidu logoBaidu announced a book search feature two weeks ago. They weren’t specific, but it sounds like this service will be searching library catalogs—but no full text book searching at this point. Think they should get ready for competition to heat up?

The Search for a Mobile Advertising Model

I’ve never been totally clear on exactly how mobile advertising was supposed to work. I’d like to blame that on the fact that there hasn’t been one tried-and-true advertising model they’re sticking with. There are banners on providers’ portal sites, I get one PPC result when I use Google on my phone, but advertising, at least on my cell phone, is pretty sparse.

One mobile advertising model that actually sounds appealing is to offer subscribers incentives, such as free minutes, for viewing ads. Virgin Mobile has been testing this model with its ‘Sugar Mama‘ program, as the Seattle Times reports today: “In its first seven months, the Sugar Mama campaign awarded 3 million minutes to about 250,000 of the registered customers.”

Google’s Ups and Downs

Google, Tragedy ComedyLast week, it was Yahoo slamming Google on usability (though you can decide for yourself if that wasn’t the pot calling the kettle black). This week, Microsoft attacks Google on copyright, basically accusing the search giant of providing no additional value or innovation, enabling video pirates and stealing book content.

Is it just me, or is this starting to sound a little like the FastCompany debate last week? I thought Danny did a good job defending Google there, and I think he does a good job defending them (or refuting Microsoft’s points) this time, too. See also The New York Times and Techmeme.

In other news, the blogosphere is abuzz with Google phone rumors. C|net and SEL reference Simeon Simeonov, who references an Engadget post from January for a leaked photo of the “Google Switch” phone. Looks a bit like the iPhone (unsurprisingly). Lots of specs (both specifications and speculations) all ‘round.

Faster Indexing Through Pinging Google Blog Search

I’ve launched a number of new sites lately in an effort to test different theories. Most but not all of them have been based on WordPress as I can launch a new site with a few pages of content within an hour.

With these site launches I have noticed some interesting patterns. All of them which I set to ping Google blog search were spidered within minutes and the site was in their index within days. On the sites which I did not ping Google, the sites took weeks to get indexed, even when I pointed strong links towards them.

WebmasterWorld has a thread where some people are noticing similar patterns on more established sites. They claim to have posts from established blogs in the index within hours, not days.

Why Corporations Truly Need to Blog

Yesterday, we covered Reasons Why Corporate Blogging Should Succeed (in response to SEOmoz’s Reasons Why Corporate Blogging Fails). My original list was longer, but then I realized that four of the reasons I gave in that list weren’t advantages corporations have in blogging. Today we have advantages of blogging to corporations.

Online reputation management
Having a blog makes an excellent place to manage your online reputation. This damage control is the other side of the “Everyone needs to toot their own horn” from yesterday. Is your company or product being portrayed in a negative light on the news, forums or other blogs? (If you have no idea, check out our Online Reputation Management Beginners’ Guide.) A blog is a natural place to present your side of the story, to reach out to individuals and the media and to improve your image online.

Yahoo Panama Conversion Tracking Broken

Panama has been live and growing for a long while now so you’d think the major bugs would be worked out. Well, apparently not.

One of my clients has a premium account and put off upgrading until Yahoo forced it about three weeks ago. Everything seemed to go smooth except the conversion tracking and full analytics that Yahoo provided with the new system seemed to be off.

That lasted for about a week and then the conversion tracking went completely blank. It has been that way for two weeks now. A call to Yahoo premium support informs me that they are aware of the problem and my clients account is one of many affected. To top it all off, they have no ETA on a fix which tells me they don’t even know what the problem is after two weeks.