Ask Jeeves Prepares to Increase Staff by 20%

TheStreet.com reports that Ask Jeeves is preparing to increase staff by 20%, “expanding both its operations center and its corporate headquarters staff in order to compete more publicly with it’s larger colleagues in the search space.

“What we really want to do is grow share,” says Berkowitz, who has headed Ask Jeeves since 2001, in an interview. “A lot of stuff is going to be happening” next year.

Wikipedia Pretty Close to Brittanica, Sets Donations Goals

As Wikipedia becomes larger and more widely accepted, now with an Alexa rank in the range of the top 30 websites on the Internet, it’s beginning to have an impact on people’s perception, accuracy, and donations strategies. All of which have been, for the most part, positive.

A recent study by Nature Magazine, shows that Wikipedia is actually fairly close in accuracy to the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

A ZDNet blog post states that “The study found both had an equal number of what were called “serious errors,” while Wikipedia had somewhat more modest errors.

Additionally, it seems that Wikipedia has recently begun a donations effort in order to continue operations as a free resource, and aims to be the PBS of the Web.

PriceGrabber Bought by GUS Plc for $485 Million

A shopping comparison engine purchased by a credit checking company?

However, what does make sense, is that Experian is owned by GUS Plc, “Britain’s second-largest retailer by market value”. Yet, the press release states that the acquisition will fall under Experian because it “complements Experian’s existing operations, connecting consumers to companies over the Internet.”

At first, I was thinking to myself, “Now, I might be missing something here, but, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to have PriceGrabber operate under GUS’s Argos Retail Group?”

Then, nearing the end of the official press release is where it begins to come together as far as their plans.

“Retail and catalogue shopping is the second largest vertical market for Experian Globally.”

Madison Avenue Faces Google Fears

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my all-too-infrequently-updated-blog about the paradox of competition that Google faces. On one hand, they are all about the consumer, making them a demi-god in the eyes of searchers. On the other hand, they are beginning to competitively enter into markets previously thought to be safe from Google’s strengthening ability to dominate new areas of business. Froogle, for example, still in beta and rarely marketed, is now 5th in the comparison shopping industry with 8.49% market share. Considering industry leader Shopping.com has 18.38% market share, it becomes easy to see how quickly consumers adopt Google services.

I read this article on Reuters last night that talks about how top New York ad agencies are feeling the pressures of Google’s expanding markets. Additionally, Brian McAndrews makes a great point at the reuters Media and Advertising Summit in Thursday:

Robert Scoble: Secret Hollywood Movie Star?

Robert Scoble == Philip Seymour Hoffman?

Robert Scoble:

Philip Seymour Hoffman:

The resemblance is uncanny, we know. In fact, it’s a little too uncanny, don’t you think?

All I know is that I’d love to see a Robert do a Lester Bangs rant on how rock and roll stars are not your friends, from Almost Famous.

Hiring SEM Specialists

It seems like this topic has been a bit of a bandwagon as of late, and I’ll give it a shot, jump on, and throw my $0.02 in.

This has always been something that’s proven difficult in the more than four years that I’ve been in this industry. In my history hiring and training SEMers, I’ve personally interviewed and hired over 30 search engine marketing specialists, and trained well over 100 people (between sales, service, and search marketing specialists). With whatever credibility that lends, I can honestly say that finding and hiring experienced search marketing specialists is the most difficult.

The reasons are obvious: This is a new industry, those with knowledge and experience are mostly self-taught (and often independent consultants), it is not a glamourous industry (if it were, there would be a greater interest), and the combination of marketing and technical aptitude to truly become an expert is quite unique.

Google tests out Click-to-Call AdWords

Greg Yardley points out that Google’s next giving Ingenio, Who’s Calling, and others a run for their money in the Pay-Per-Call arena.

In a new twist on the performance-based pay-per-call advertising medium (that’s-a-lot-of-dashes), Google’s new service basically acts as a call bridge between the advertiser and the consumer.

Here’s how it works:
– Consumer does a search and sees a phone listing in the paid search results.
– Consumer clicks the telephone graphic, prompting the consumer for their phone number.
– Google then calls both the consumer and the advertiser, and bridges the call.

However, as Danny points out, there are still questions to be answered such as; Are ads sold on a cost-per-click basic or a pay-per-call basis? and Does Google foot the bill, or do advertisers pay some of the call?