Google Gains, Yahoo & MSN Mixed Bag

Nielsen//NetRatings reported a week ago that Google had more than 50% of the search market share in December 2006. The data for the top three (compared with comScore Networks’ data from the same period, released Jan 15):

Provider Searches (000) Share of Searches comScore Queries/Share
Google Search 3,035,617 50.8% 3.2 billion / 43.7%
Yahoo! Search 1,412,904 23.6% 1.9 billion / 28.5%
MSN/Windows Live Search 499,946 8.4% 713 million / 10.5%

Clearly, and unsurprisingly, comScore and Nielsen differ on their estimations of each search engine’s popularity. comScore’s stats give MSN and Yahoo a better projection than Nielsen.

Inside Google at the Blog News Channel noted that Yahoo! is growing at a faster rate than Google (Yahoo’s growth rate: 30.1%; Google’s: 22.6%). Of course, it’s easy to grow faster when you’re half as big.

Most SEOs are crooks?

It appears that even local newspapers have gotten in on the SEO-bashing. On Sunday, the Rapid City Journal published what appears to be a column entitled “Optimizers not optimal for getting site noticed.” The author, Claire Scholz, states:

For the most part, search engine optimizers are — do I dare say it out loud? — crooks. They promise the sky and all the golden-top-10-Google-rankings beneath it. They make cold calls or send cold spam (yuck) to otherwise smart business owners and, within minutes, the owner is rattling off the company’s credit card number to his or her new best friend.

I understand that there are many unscrupulous “SEOs” out there, but I wouldn’t say that “most” of them are “crooks.” The ever-skeptical Scholz offers four guidelines to avoid these bad guys, some of which are decent:

Gearing up for Election 2008: the PPC Campaign

Presidential hopefuls for 2008 have already started campaigning online. With websites, blogs, vlogs from everyone from John Edwards to Sen. John McCain, the Internet is beginning to be inundated with ’08′s hopefuls—except in one area: pay-per-click.

Daily Kos reports Sunday on the pay-per-click race so far:

Republicans seem to be first out of the starting gate in the paid search arena.

[Mitt] Romney is clearly the most aggressive advertiser with his name displaying on searches for himself and five other candidates. I wonder if his neglect of the rest of the field (including Gingrich) is a clue as to his opinion of their competitiveness or likelyhood [sic] of entering the race. Romney and McCain are the only candidates to advertise on competitor’s search terms.

The most striking observation is that none of the leading Democrats are advertising at all. Obviously, it is still early, but these ads aren’t expensive and they can generate traffic and help to channel prospective supporters. Republicans are in this game by themselves. [emphasis added]

Europe Passes US in eCommerce

comScore Networks report on European spending during the 2006 holiday season, starting October 30. They found that

  • Germany spent 5.4 billion euros online
  • the UK spent 4.0 billion euros online
  • France spent 1.9 billion euros online.

This compares with the US’s online holiday spending of $24.6 billion, or 18.8 billion euros.

Okay, okay, I know you can do the math, and the US has 18.8 billion and the three European countries only have 11.3 billion euros–obviously the US is still ahead. However, one thing comScore neglects to take into account in these reports is a little Latin phrase–per capita. How much did citizens of these nations spend online per total citizen?

The CIA Factbook gives population estimates as of July 2006 for the four nations: US, 298,444,215; Germany, 82, 422, 299; UK, 60,609,153; France, 60,876,136.

V7N Enters the Link Buying Business

Peter da Vanzo on V7N’s SEO blog announced Wednesday that V7N is entering the link buying field. No, they’re not buying links for themselves—they’re offering a service similar to Text Link Ads. But, of course, different.

V7N boasts that their Contextual Links system is superior to any other link buying because the links they’re selling are completely “unmarked” and undetectable as paid links to Google or anyone else. The links are also better because they’re one-off payments of $20 per link. Best of all, as “contextual” links, they occur in sentences. V7N says that “For SEO purposes, contextual links are unbeatable.”

The links are permanent, and presumably one-way, links. Publishers, who earn $10 per link, are not required to make any comments or endorsements. It doesn’t appear that publishers are required to disclose the relationship at all. V7N says most of their publishers are blogs.

Net Neutrality Bill in US Senate

In the wake of AT&T’s big merger, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have introduced a Net Neutrality bill into the Senate. Called the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act,” the bill is designed to prevent service providers from creating a two-tiered Internet or forcing subscribers to bundle broadband with other services.

What does this really mean for Net Neutrality? Not much—yet. On the one hand, it’s a positive since it’s clearly on the minds of senators (or they think it’s on our minds).

However, there’s a lot to go through before this can really make any headway.

Crash course in US federal lawmaking for those of us who can’t remember the School House Rock song:

  • The bill is introduced. This one was read twice on the Senate floor and then:

Managers Look for Useless Info

Accenture Ltd. reports that managers spend up to 2 hours a day searching for information—and more than half of that data they describe as “useless.” The survey of 1000 US and UK managers reveals that managers waste a lot of time on research.

Among the findings:

  • 59% of the managers claim that they miss potentially valuable information “almost every day” because it’s somewhere else in the company.
  • 57% say that having to go to multiple sources for information is a difficult aspect of their jobs.

Some managers blame the vast amounts of available information or having to go to three or more sources to gather data for this shortcoming. Others blame other parts of their own companies for making it difficult to keep track of their activities or access their information. Those info hogs.