Contest Reminder: Follow Me on Twitter Win a Nokia

Here’s your Sunday reminder that one lucky follower of my Twitter feed will win a Nokia Internet Tablet this week.

If the opportunity to get insider previews, extra news items, and connect with hundreds of other marketers is not enough of an incentive, then maybe the Nokia will help. :-)


Is Google’s Stranglehold Slipping?

Is Google’s stranglehold on the market slipping? We all had to ask as comScore and Nielsen reported their numbers for December, with Google losing search market share. Although their losses were quite small, with Nielsen reporting a loss of 1.4 percentage points and comScore reporting a loss of 0.2 percentage points for Google in search engine market share between November and December.

So, what’s going on here? The Silicon Alley Insider assures us all that Google’s in no danger (in search market share, at least, no references to their falling stock price):

A person who follows search stats more closely than we do argues that Google’s December drop is probably easy to explain: Students spend less time on their computers in December because of the holidays.

Coming Soon – Target Google AdWords to MySpace Users

This is an exciting development . Google is testing a new feature to allow you to target ads to specific demographics on MySpace and other web sites. So it your web site sells NY Yankee tickets and your main demographic is men aged 30-45. Your ads can show up just on profiles of men who are in that age group.

You can then adjust your bids accordingly. The ads will be filtered by age and gender demographics and you can get reports to further refine your results.

Many people are blind to ads on social networking sites, but assuming you’re great at capturing your audience’s attention, this could be huge. People spend a lot more time on MySpace than a regular web sites. Recent data put the average time people spend on MySpace as a whopping 29:36 minutes. Plus they return to the site more frequently.

Why Your Google Reputation Can Hurt Your Career

Canada’s Globe and Mail takes an in-depth look at how your Google reputation can cost you that new job, and I was happy to offer my advice for the piece.

More and more recruiters are turning to Google as part of their due diligence efforts for hiring decisions. The article quotes a couple of incidents where potential employers backed away from offering a job, once they Googled the candidate.

One Toronto-based hirer, who asked not to be named, said that a search of a promising candidate’s name turned up a dating advertisement posted by the applicant that contained “sex-related information that could be seen as bizarre.” When she revealed what she had found to a senior executive in her office, he told her that the applicant “wouldn’t be a good fit for their corporate culture.” As a result, the company discarded the candidate’s application.

Pilgrim’s Picks for January 25th

If you opened up today’s Pilgrim’s Picks expecting me to sing you a song, you’re in the wrong place. "Linky Goodness" is what you’re looking for, and that comes at the end of the day. ;-)

Now, if you just wanted to see what marketing news items didn’t quite make the "Andy’s going to blog about it right this minute" cut, carry on reading.

Microsoft Still “Several Years” Away from Online Ad Success

If you’re an investor in Microsoft (MSFT) then you’re no doubt rejoicing at the company’s recent quarterly numbers. Not only is profit up 81% from last year, but the company is so confident about the rest of the year that it raised its earnings guidance!

Now, if you were hoping that MSFT’s search and online advertising unit would be a huge chunk of that profit increase, you might want to go back into hibernation–for a few more years!

Microsoft gave credit for its profit increase to its launch of software–mostly Vista–and not much else. In fact, according to MarketWatch, Microsoft lost $245 million from its "online services" unit (although revenue did increase).

OK, but surely MSFT’s search efforts are about to kick-in right? Wrong!

Google Goes Sour on Domain Tasting

DomainTools Blog is citing a “confidential informant” as the source for speculation Google will soon crack down on domain tasters using Google AdSense for Domains.

…Google will stop monetizing all domains if they are less then five days old. This potential new policy change by Google could stop all Domain Tasting in its tracks.

Domain tasting simply means the option to return a registered domain name within 5 days–typically useful if you misspelled a word or decided not to launch that “Google killer” after all. However, savvy domain tasters have exploited the loophole and register hundreds of domain names at a time, use Google’s AdSense for Domains product to test the earning potential of a URL, then cancel those domains that don’t make money. A nice little earner for domainers and Google, not exactly the best experience for search users.