Canada Cracking Down on Google Buzz

Google Buzz has had one heck of a first week. After not fully testing the product, Google launched Buzz and forced all Gmail users into it without a way to opt out. Then we realized they were automatically sharing the list of people we chatted with and emailed most frequently. Finally, Google backed off many of these “features,” and made it possible to disable Buzz (and not just hide it). And the angry masses aren’t the only ones—now the Canadian government is scrutinizing the service.

Valerie Lawton, a spokeswoman for the [Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada], said the office is looking into concerns about Buzz.

“We understand the public concern about privacy issues related to Google Buzz,” she said. “Our office is looking at the issue.”

Facebook Corners 44% of Social Sharing

TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld talked to sharing-widget producer Gigya recently to find out what site people tended to share content on the most. Gigya’s widget power social sharing from sites such as ABC.com, Reuters and Answers.com (and 5000 more). When people shared content, where did they tend to post it? Facebook was the #1 choice for 44% of content sharing.

(Sub-lesson of this article: lying with statistics. Can you guess what share the other three got from the chart?)

Gigya also looked at sign-in data for these sites—for example, whether users signed in via Gmail/Google, Yahoo or Facebook Connect to interact with or share content. For some types of sites, they were nearly equal—but not others. News sites saw 31% Facebook sign ins, 30% Google/Gmail sign ins and 25% Yahoo sign ins (Twitter saw 11% and AOL 3%). But for entertainment sites, Facebook was the far more popular choice at 52%, with Google (17%), Yahoo (12%) and Twitter (11%) trailing far behind. (MySpace, 7%, and AOL, 1%, fared even worse.)

75 Million Visitors to Twitter in January

Yup, this measurement from comScore of 75 million people visiting Twitter in January of this year does not take into account those accessing the service through third party apps. Isn’t it nice to get that out of the way right from the start?

Fresh off the news that in January Twitter served over 1.2 billion tweets there is little surprise in a growth chart that looks like this courtesy of TechCrunch and comScore

When you cut to the chase on this though, the question about Twitter has to be less about quantity and more about quality. As more and more of the mainstream begin to discover and possibly embrace Twitter (have you had any “I don’t get that Twitter thing at all” comments from people who are not like you?) the pure volume of visitors, users and tweets will continue to rise. What might not rise is the legitimate information that is in the cacophony of tweets. If it becomes harder and harder to mine and make sense of Twitter’s stream then it won’t matter how many people visit.

Microsoft’s Outlook As a Social Hub?

Many folks like to talk about how anything labeled a Microsoft web strategy is an oxymoron considering the company’s less than stellar track record in the online world. That doesn’t mean that they will stop trying though. In an apparent attempt to ensure that they are seen as relevant in the social space the software giant is bringing some new friends into its ubiquitous Outlook product. Those friends are Facebook, MySpace and Linkedin. While it appears that Facebook is virtually everywhere it is quite interesting to see MySpace making some positive news these days. From a pure business play LinkedIn makes sense.

Yahoo tells us a little more:

Microsoft Corp. is taking another step toward turning Outlook, its desktop e-mail program, into a hub for information from popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Fortune 500 Spending $1.2 Billion on Paid Search, Because They Can’t Rank Naturally!

Apparently Fortune 500 companies have money to burn on search marketing.

According to a new study from Conductor, only 25% of the Fortune 500’s combined targeted paid keywords–97,555 keywords, totaling a daily spend of $3.4M–ranked in the top 50 natural search results.

Think about that. These companies are collective spending $1.2 billion a year on paid search placement, yet 75% of these important keywords are not ranking organically inside the top 50 search results!

Even more staggering, only 2% of Fortune 500 domains analyzed had any significant number of search terms in the top results–which we presume means first page visibility.

When you break it down by company, only 0.6%, are achieving top 50 keyword placement. Which means that less than 1% of companies control the lion share of the  25% of keywords ranking inside the top 50! Talk about outliers!

2 Million Reasons Why Wikipedia Pages Will Continue to Outrank Yours on Google

Here’s a tweet that will likely ruffle the feathers of many in the SEO community:

Yes, Google has apparently donated $2 million to the group that ensures a Wikipedia page shows up in Google for just about anything you search.

Now, let me ask you this. If Google handed one of your competitors $2 million, while said competitor’s web pages ranked on the first page, wouldn’t you smell a rat?

I’m sure we’ll hear a rant from Mahalo’s Jason Calacanis in 3..2..1….

SeeSaw Stealing Hulu’s Lunch in the UK

Ah, Hulu. How we made fun of thee. How we love thee now. Unless, of course, we live outside the United States—then we kind of hate thee for not letting us watch your shows. Although they planned to launch to the British Isles in September 2009, that has been delayed until 2010—and naturally, that vacuum is being filled. Competitor SeeSaw is set to open in beta tomorrow with three content licenses in place.

Hulu’s plans to expand into the UK and Ireland were slated to include their American content as well as content from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. ITV now almost certainly will not participate (yet). Licensing agreements with American networks originally kept the service from expanding; rumor has it that Hulu’s demands for exclusive content licensing with British networks have been a major stumbling block. Channel 4, for example, has already licensed its content to YouTube and SeeSaw.