The Plot to Kill Google? Google’s Secret Weapon?

A recent article in Wired called The Plot to Kill Google details some of the major legal and political battles that Google finds itself in with corporations that have a shared interest in the evolution of the web. The authors describe Microsoft as being a major enemy of Google, and responsible for spearheading an advocacy effort to thwart the now botched Google/Yahoo ad deal.

Apparently, Microsoft was successful at convincing Tom Barnett, assistant attorney general for antitrust, that an ad partnership between Google and Yahoo constitutes a monopoly.

Traditional advocacy efforts entail organizing consumers/voters around a specific issue, and leveraging their voice to push through a specific set of policies. However, Microsoft took a different approach by rallying up corporate entities, to lobby on behalf of Microsoft’s cause.

President Obama Promises to Bring Transparency to the White House

President Barack Obama was sworn in a the 44th president of the United States less than an hour ago and he’s already promising to bring (radical?) transparency to the White House.

Along with a new WhiteHouse.gov web site, there’s a new blog and the first post promises many changes including:

Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.

How to Watch the Presidential Inauguration Live…Even from Your iPhone!

Yeah, I know that everyone’s going to be obsessed with the President Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration today. In case you’re not able to make it to the event, social media has come to your rescue!

You can watch the presidential inauguration live over at UStream–or stay here and watch it on the embedded video feed below.

If you happen to be away from your computer, download this neat application to your iPhone and you can watch the live video feed from wherever you happen to be!

I’m Launching SEM Vendor to Help Bring Clients & Agencies Together

I’m excited to announce the launch of SEM Vendor–a marketplace to bring companies and search engine marketing firms together. Think of it as LendingTree, Match.com, and HARO mash-up!

What is SEM Vendor?

It’s a really simple service that allows any company to submit a single form outlining their SEO, PPC or SERM (search engine reputation management) needs and then have vendors contact them.

What are the benefits to companies?

Instead of wasting hours finding qualified search marketing vendors, figuring out how to contact them, then filling out multiple requests for information, companies can fill out one quick and easy form. We then present it to our list of SEM vendors and they self-select whether they are qualified to take on the account or not.

Google Introduces Preferred Sites

In an effort to move more and more towards personalized results, Google began testing a new feature called “Preferred Sites” yesterday.

The idea behind Preferred Sites is that you can tell Google which sites you trust most and want to appear more often in your search results. Google will also recommend sites to include in your list based on your search history.

Google’s help page for Preferred Sites explains:

The preferred sites feature lets you set your Google Web Search preferences so that your search results match your unique tastes and needs. Fill in the sites you rely on the most, and results from your preferred sites will show up more often when they’re relevant to your search query.

Google Preferred Sites

A Visual Guide to Online Reputation Management

If you’re struggling to explain to your boss why he/she should care about online reputation management, you might want to share this visual overview with them.

VizEdu.com churns out these visual explanations on a regular basis.

(Hat-tip)

Search Spending Down 8% in Q4; Will Google’s Earnings Report Reflect the Same?

Google has never been one to conform to market predictions about its quarterly earnings–something to keep in mind when reading Efficient Frontier’s gloomy prediction for 2008′s fourth quarter.

U.S. search advertising spending fell 8% in the fourth quarter of 2008 from the same period in 2007, according to a new study from search advertising firm Efficient Frontier, which had been tracking mostly flat growth for 2008. The study — which covers an undisclosed portion the $750 million in annual spending the company manages globally — marks the first quarter of negative annual growth in the several years Efficient Frontier has been gathering such data, says James Beriker, president and CEO of the firm.

Wall Street analysts are still betting on a double-digit increase when Google announces its Q4 earnings on Thursday–and I tend to agree with that prediction.