AdSense Supastar, That is What You Are

AdSense publishers, I have some startling news for you:

Some of the ads displayed on your site are not that contextually relevant!

I know some of you are now saying, “well, duh!” but even Google is starting to admit that it’s showing some ads–when perhaps it shouldn’t.

OK, so Google didn’t actually admit that–at least not explicitly. It did, however, start testing a new “Featured Ad” format that will highlight AdSense ads that are more relevant than others.

Here’s an example:

A pretty little star, and a “Featured Ad” rollover is being tested on a small batch of AdSense ads. According to Google:

AOL Asking 2,500 Employees to Fall on Their Sword

AOL logoWhile I just read this over at All Things Digital I am still scratching my head (which means I am typing with just one hand, so if this reads slow you’ll know why). AOL tends to be in the news in the past year or so more about whether the business will survive and how will it look when it is pushed out of the Time Warner nest officially in December. Why today would be any different I don’t know but the news from AOL is how they are asking for 2,500, or one third of their work force, to volunteer for a layoff.

AOL, which has already told investors that it will spend up to $200 million firing a good chunk of its staff, has now told its employees. It is looking for “up to 2,500 volunteers,” CEO Tim Armstrong told his staff today. That’s a third of the company’s payroll.

Google Addressing Site Hierarchies in SERPs

google-logo1While Google made the announce of their new inclusion of site hierarchy to help searchers understand the context of a search result more clearly on Tuesday, it also stated that this will be seen globally over the next few days. Well, that brings us to today right? So keep an eye out for the latest update that Google has put into play to try to make their flagship offering, their search engine, better. After all there may come a day when some ‘competitors’ may need to join forces and actually challenge Google search supremacy (oh that’s right that’s already happening).

Google’s blog tells us

Digg CEO: Content as Advertising

Dollars FloatingIn a headline from yesterday, the Wall Street Journal tells us that Digg CEO Jay Adelson has one less thing to worry about: “Profitability Is Not A Problem Anymore.” In an interview with Fox Business Network, Adelson addressed the issue of monetizing social sites—but I’m not so sure I’d say profitability isn’t a problem anymore.

Adelson says that last year was the big year for pressure to monetize social sites—”to monetize fast and to get to profitability quick. This year, not as much. We’re back focused on growth.” (That’s all well and good for them—they are “monetizing well.”) And growth is good—but haven’t we learned anything yet? Having a lot of users isn’t a business model. Relying on angel investors for the next 20 years is not a business model. (Then again, I guess focusing on growth means you don’t think about the “next 20 years” just the “next 20 users.”)

The Price of One Anonymous Comment? Your Job

gavelMost of us have blogs, right? How do you react to anonymous vulgar comments? Hit SPAM, right? Yeah, me too. And so did the Director of Social Media for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Kurt Greenbaum. The first time. But when the anonymous commenter again posted the single-word vulgarity, Greenbaum tracked his IP address—to a school.

Probably thinking he was reporting a misbehaving student, Greenbaum contacted the school and explained the situation. Six hours later, the school called back: they’d found the commenter—an employee. After they confronted him, the employee resigned.

Most of us probably have an intrinsic notion that the anonymous commenter and Greenbaum both acted inappropriately (although there was no way for Greenbaum to know he was turning in an employee and not a student)—but perhaps the more important question is whether they were acting legally.

Microsoft to Google in Less Than Two Weeks

Welcome MatIn an admittedly slow news day it is noteworthy to tell you that earlier in the week Google made a strategic hire if for no other reason than the hire was just at Microsoft less than two weeks ago.

Don Dodge was Microsoft’s “Ambassador to Start Ups” according to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch. We say ‘was’ because Dodge was laid off by Microsoft earlier this month. Check out Arrington’s interview with Dodge here. I honestly didn’t think that people at this level or with this title got ‘laid off’. I thought that was reserved for the rank and file folks and the sales team. Guess you learn something new every day, right?

Facebook and the 7,000

Facebook is updating its Privacy Policy. They did it the Facebook way, which is great PR. The company looks like it is taking care of business because it can say things like on their blog like

On Nov. 5, we wrapped up a week-long notice and comment period for a proposed revision to our privacy policy. This was a continuation of our ongoing effort to run Facebook in an open and transparent way. The goals of the revised policy were to make it more accessible and easier to understand.

Excellent buzzwords in there like open and transparent. In reality maybe they are trying to do that but how hard are they trying and in the end, does it even matter?