Microsoft Re-Branding Live Search to Kumo? It’ll Take More than Four Letters

There’s nothing like wild speculation to start your Monday morning off right.

LiveSide tenuously strings together evidence that Microsoft might re-brand Live Search as Kumo.com and the whole blogosphere goes crazy.

Fast forward to this week and Microsoft suddenly showed its hand. Control of the Kumo.com domain was moved from the registrar to Microsoft, and is now pointing to an internal Microsoft test site (employees only).

You can test this out at home by firing up the command prompt (type “cmd” in the Vista start box) and then type “tracert kumo.com”. You’ll see the route to the end location go through a few msn.com servers, and then suddenly you’ll notice all those asterisks, which is where Kumo.com becomes available for internal use only.

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Linky Goodness, November 21

Psst—it’s Friday. Partay.

  • Bad news for the SEO industry: we’ve seen the elephant. We’ve jumped the shark. We’ve made USA Today’s Small Business Strategies column.
  • SEO Blackhat says that they’ve Confirmed that Bounce Rate is A Search Engine Ranking Factor. Well, from their graphs, I see that their overall traffic, Google traffic and bounce rate all declined at the same time. But if I remember my Google Analytics correctly, bounce rate going down actually means that fewer people are leaving your site after viewing just one page, so your site is stickier. So Google rewards sites that people leave quickly with higher rankings and thus more traffic? I’m not convinced. Correlation still isn’t causation—couldn’t it be that Google traffic dropped off (for whatever reason) and then a higher proportion of visitors are the loyal visitors who weren’t bouncing anyway?

Is Google Evil?

Here’s a nice discussion from the New York Times’ Bits Blog—and a debate held this week by Intelligence Squared US. The arguments, naturally, centered around Google’s purported motto: “Don’t be evil.”

Everything from corporate identity to workplace policies to business behavior was fair game. The Bits summary of the arguments included seven deadly sins of Google and eight of its virtues (both of which I hope were delivered tongue-in-cheek). Sins, complete with Latin, from Siva Vaidhyanathan, an associate professor at the University of Virginia:

Luxuria (extravagance or lust): The people who work there get massages. That is corporeal lust of the highest order.

Gula (gluttony): They can eat all day, no matter what they want. There is so much food that they never need to say no. That is the very definition of gluttony.

Google Builds a Better AdWords Display Ad Builder

I’m guessing Google really wants you to add display ads to your marketing mix because, barely a month after launching its AdWords display ad builder, the search engine giant has made some improvements.

Image picker: You can now choose from previously uploaded images when creating your ads.

Real-time editing: See what your text and other customization edits look like, automatically — without having to click the ‘update preview’ button.

Quicker way of seeing available ad sizes: You can see which sizes your ad can run in for each ad template without having to complete the ad creation process. You can also preview how your customization choices affect each size.

Additional templates: Choose from even more templates for customizing your ads.

Google Gets Personal

In a report from, of all places, Yahoo! News, Google’s new Search Wiki is out and it gets personal. No not like that but it actually sounds like 2 years of yammering about personalization of search may finally be more reality than hype.

The new service unveiled on Thursday by Google allows users to remove ‘bad’ results from future search queries.

For now, Google simply wants to make specific sets of results more useful to each individual that comes to its search engine, said Marissa Mayer, who oversees the company’s search products. Users will have to have a personal login to take advantage of the editing feature.

“It should make the search results more dynamic,” she said.

Linky Goodness, November 20

Is it one of those days where you are, too? Let’s make your day brighter with a little linky goodness, shall we?