Google Maps Cheaps out with MapMaker

Once upon a time, a bunch of Googlers were sitting around during meal time or 20% time or something, just thinking. And you know what happens when Googlers think in groups, right?

“You know,” says one, “I sure wish we could bring Google Maps to the islands of the world.”

“Yeah, that would be awesome. I claim Tahiti!”

“No, I’m serious,” says the first. “But, obviously, travel costs would be prohibitively high.”

“I still get Tahiti,” mutters the second. “If we do Street View, anyway.”

*moments of rumination*

“I know!” exclaims a third. “Let’s have the islanders do it!”

“Yeah! It’ll be like outsourcing to India!”

“Even better—let’s do this wiki-style. Id est, we don’t pay contributors.”

“Tahiti, here we come!”

Pilgrim’s Picks for June 25 – Tugboat Edition

I met with a friend for coffee this morning and we discussed coaching/consulting. I plucked an analogy from the air, that he really liked, but I couldn’t think where to write it down–so I don’t forget it.

I’ll share it here, so anyone can use it.

A consultant is a tugboat at a busy harbor. The ship (client) could eventually find its own way to the dock, and may even manage to pull into a slip. However, the tugboat is there to give gently nudges in the right direction, ensure the ship avoids any shallow dangers, and actually berths at the right slip.

So says Andy “the tugboat” Beal. ;-)

OK, now for today’s Picks:

Charter Suspends Ad Targeting Over Customers’ Privacy Concerns

It looks like privacy concerns have put Charter Communications ad targeting plans on hold.

As we reported last month, ISPs are sitting on a wealth of personalized data, but lawmakers have expressed concerns over the methods used to tap into that data–especially "deep packet inspection."

The pressure has obviously become too much for Charter which, conveniently, spins the suspension of its ad plans into a mere pause, while it listens to customers.

"As we do with all new service launches or initiatives, we conducted focus groups well in advance, which told us that most broadband consumers would look upon this service favorably," Charter said on Wednesday.

B2C Lead Report. Good News For SEO’s and Email Marketers.

Two weeks ago, Andy brought you the B2B Lead Generation handbook. Without further ado, we now bring you B2C.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Email marketing are the two best bets for your marketing dollar, according to a new report from UK Based eConsultancy in conjunction with Clash-Media. Viral marketing” landed on the other end of the spectrum based on the feedback of 600 companies.

Some of the highlights from company respondents:

  • A greater proportion of lead generation budget is being spent on online (on average, 53%) than offline (44%).
  • Compared to 2007, PPC is getting a bigger proportion of online lead generation budgets even though natural search is perceived to be better value for the money.

Search Engines Preferred for Product Research

Just in case anyone out there was having a crisis of faith, the Opinion Research Corporation has good news for you: search engines are still the preferred method for conducting product/service research. In a survey of 736 adults released yesterday (PDF), ORC found that not only do most people prefer to use search engines for product research, they also read “online customer feedback” heavily.

That THAT, totally skewed Pew findings!

61% of respondents said they read “online reviews, blogs and other sources of online customer feedback before purchasing a new product or service.” Even more impressive, 83% said that “online product evaluations and reviews had at least some level of influence on their purchasing decisions.” (But only 32% reported posting online feedback themselves. Lazies.)

Rave Reviews for Trackur; Agencies Are You Missing Out?

Since launching my own online reputation monitoring service, Trackur has seen more than 2700 registered users. Those that sign-up range from small mom-and-pop shops to some very well known Fortune 500 companies.

Those that seem to really get the most out of Trackur are marketing agencies and PR firms. Even if they’re not offering reputation monitoring services to their clients, just knowing what’s going on with a client’s brand, can be invaluable.

One very positive Trackur review caught my eye recently. Search marketing firm EngineWorks took the time to praise Trackur and explain why it’s so valuable to their clients.

We love Trackur
(To it put succinctly!) Andy Beal, founder of Trackur.com, has developed a fantastic tool for search marketing professionals. One that can be used to add tremendous value to client relationships.

Rack’em Stack’em Search Bots. Searchme Stacks the Pages in Their Favor.

Remember when I wrote about little known search engine, Searchme, earlier this month? They had just announced another round of funding and in my post I waxed a bit poetic about the “The Beauty of the UI”. Some of the naysayers commented – “Nice, but not practical”.

Two things you should know about investors. First – they typically don’t throw a boatload of cash at zippo. Second – they play to win. So, it was a safe bet that the high profile group of investors must have seen some features they liked prior to anteing up another $12M. Two of those features were revealed today.

Searchme Stacks

Searchme Stacks extend visual search into the bookmark space and across the Web, allowing users to assemble and share collections of their favorite web pages in one.