Digg Causes ED Among Social Marketers; Will it Now Go Limp Itself?

As I write this, I’m conscious of the claims some SEOs make that Google "needs" them in order to make the results relevant. Google would hardly collapse without optimizers’ interest, but can the same be said about Digg?

Digg’s Kevin Rose has officially announced what we’ve all seen over the past week or so: it’s now a lot harder to push your content onto the front page of Digg. In fact, Digg’s adjusting its algorithm so that you’ll need well north of 100 Diggs to have any chance.

As we point out in our FAQ, occasionally you will see stories in the upcoming section with 100+ Diggs – this is evidence of our promotion algorithm hard at work. One of the keys to getting a story promoted is diversity in Digging activity. When the algorithm gets the diversity it needs, it will promote a story from the Upcoming section to the home page. This way, the system knows a large variety of people will be into the story.

Is the Internet ‘Public’?

In the United States, we have some pretty easy-to-remember guidelines on what constitutes “public” and “private.” Areas like your home and your car are considered private. With a few notable exceptions, other areas are public. These legal definitions apply to entities like the police and the press—anything that happens (or is found) in public is “fair game,” but to intrude on your privacy, the police have to have at least a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity (or your permission).

The Internet is a bit trickier, especially for those of us so used to clear distinctions in this area. We all know that anything to publish online from a website to a bulletin board to a blog is to literally make it public—as public as if you’d put it on a billboard. Most of us understand that it’s virtually impossible to be virtually anonymous, even if the closest thing to your name you leave is the not-so-very-personally-identifiable IP address that your ISP assigned you.

Does AskEraser . . . Erase?

Privacy watchdog groups have filed a complaint with the FTC about AskEraser, claiming that the six-week-old service doesn’t live up to its promises of erasing all user search data even when enabled.

Funny, six months ago the then-unlaunched service got Ask the highest marks in a privacy ranking. Now, less than two months in, the service is already under fire. The complaint says that Ask has marketed the AskEraser product deceptively by claiming that it would delete users’ search histories.

As MediaPost quotes the complaint,

AskEraser marketing leads the public to believe that their search histories are not being collected and retained by Ask.com. Not only is this not always the case, search histories are accessible, collected and retained by both third-party advertisers and third-party service providers

Explaining Search Volume Fluctuations

Whether you’re an in-house SEO or an SEO consultant, you’ve likely faced the affects of search volume fluctuations on your website traffic. So how can you explain these search volume fluctuations to your boss or a client?

Many times, I’ve found that clients do not correlate news events with search volume. I’m not sure why this is a difficult concept to understand, but a look at Google Trends or the Yahoo!’s Buzz demonstrate a very direct correlation between news stories and search volume. For instance, on Monday, Martin Luther King Day (or Lee/Jackson/King Day in Virginia — that’s a whole other blog post for later…), “Martin Luther King” was the top searched term. Two days later, however, it’s “Heath Ledger” that’s on everyone’s mind.

Lessons in Paid Search

I must admit that when it comes to research that talks about how big to make the “buy button” or what color to make it, I’m a complete nerd. MarketingSherpa just published a case study on how to Increase conversions. The software company Smartsheet involved says they increased the number of people who signed up for a free trial 280%. That’s enough to make me look twice.

Prospects who sign up for free trials are more likely to become paying customers. Smartsheet was getting 5%-7% of their visitors who click on a ad to sign up for a free trial. They tried multivariate testing – because as they point out, usually “your gut tells you one thing and the data tells you another,” according to Maria Colacurcio, VP Marketing, at Smartsheet.com. That increased conversions to very high levels – 12 to 14 percent. I’ve been in heated debates about the best course of action but testing works best – assuming you’re humble enough to go with the data over your ego.

Pilgrim’s Picks for January 23

It’s another hump-day! If you’re really glad that it’s Wednesday, maybe you should check out the Marketing Pilgrim Job Board and find yourself some greener grass!

In between your job search, why not enjoy these tasty treats:

Polar Rose Has Big Plans for Face Recognition Search

Polar Rose is not content to have its face recognition technology confined to a Firefox plugin. The company has announced its plans to make its service more publicly available, according to Reuters.

If you’re not familiar with Polar Rose, here’s the 411:

Polar Rose’s technology scans the image itself and converts the data from two-dimensional (2D) images into 3D models. These skeletal models can be rendered into so-called "faceprints", which are then stored and indexed…The firm says its technology can pick out faces in the swelling crowd of images on the Internet, thereby making digital photos indexable just like text documents.

Now the race is on between Polar Rose and Google–who acquired similar technology when it bought Neven Vision back in August of 2006–to see who can keep up with Joan Rivers plastic surgery. ;-)