Microsoft on the War Path

The New York Times today covers Microsoft and their pending battle against Google/DoubleClick. No, not the legal mess they’ve been pursuing—the fight for advertising dollars. With aQuantive‘s and DoubleClick‘s acquisitions earlier this year, Microsoft and Google are now in direct competition in the online advertising arena.

The Times article leads with three of Microsoft’s past endeavors which have enjoyed “varying degrees of success”: Internet Explorer, Windows and the Zune. Internet Explorer sucks (just ask the 100+ people who’ve commented on that post!), Windows is okay (I don’t mind it, at least, but I haven’t “upgraded” to Vista yet), and the Zune thus far has been too little, too late. Not a precipitous way to begin discussing a new business.

Yahoo Index Update

Speculation has been flying today about an update at Yahoo. Aaron Wall noticed:

  • botching part of a sitewide 301 redirect that they had followed for months – now both sites rank, but each ranks well for some portion of the queries
  • a bit more weight on domain names

Loren Baker spotted “some sites with high authority domains, in the perception of Yahoo, such as TheFreeDictionary.com, and all of its keyword heavy definition pages, rising in Yahoo rankings.”

And now Yahoo confirms the rumors:

We’ve rolled out some changes to our index with fresh web data and updates to our crawling, indexing and ranking algorithms over the last few days. We expect the update will be completed very soon. Throughout this process you may see some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of the pages in the index.

Pilgrim’s Picks for September 26

Yo, yo, yoyo.

Here’s what’s hot and happen’n this morning.

Google’s Huge Gmail Security Flaw; Fixed Now But Are There Others?

image Whenever you hand over your sensitive daily tasks–such as email, word, spreadsheets–to an online provider, you’ll always have that nagging doubt about security. Surely though, if that provider is Google, you never have to fear about the security of your data. Right?

As ESPN’s Lee Corso would say: “Not so fast!”

It appears that Google had to fix a major flaw that allowed hackers to infiltrate Gmail and set up a filter to forward all email to the account of their choice. Here’s how it works…

Microsoft to Roll Out New Live Search Today

image There are a mass of search folks gathering at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus today to learn about the roll out of the new Live Search.

Those attending are under embargo until 9:01pm EST tonight. Unfortunately for me, I’m just too busy to make the event. Fortunately for you, that means I can give you a peak at what to expect. :-)

New Live Search Interface

Microsoft is expect to launch a complete redesign of their search interface. The new look appears to take its cues from Google’s Universal Search and Ask’s 3D search interface.

Thanks to LiveSide, we have a screenshot of how it will look:

image

Integration of MSN Shopping

Live Search will include more information from MSN Shopping for any searches that appear to be for consumer products. Here’s the drill down for a Canon Powershot camera.

Unique Pay Per Call Service for Small Businesses

Ingenio, Inc. announced yesterday that they will be joining forces with Network Solutions to incorporate Pay Per Call services into the Network Solutions suite of interactive marketing packages. The Pay Per Call feature will allow Network Solutions customers the ability to generate phone calls from their potential clients through their online marketing campaigns and only pay for the calls that they receive.

Once the Pay Per Call feature is fully implemented later this month, Network Solutions customers will be able to advertise to consumers who are searching for local businesses and wish to interact with a live person. Pay Per Call advertisers will also be allowed to run their ads across the Ingenio advertising network, which consists of free directory assistance service providers, mobile search, leading search engines and Internet yellow page directories.

Hulu Setting Itself Up for Failure

There’s no other way to ensure your success than to tell everyone a month before your private beta launch that there will be failure in your new service. Announced last month, YouTube-rivaling Hulu.com will have failures, as George Kliavkoff, NBC Universal’s chief digital officer, told MediaPost (speaking at the Online Media, Marketing & Advertising conference Monday):

“The most important thing is to not be presumptuous about what’s going to work,” Kliavkoff said.

But to fail successfully, he added, you have to fail fast in order to quickly identify your errors and cut your losses. Success involves setting up “processes to fail fast,” he said.