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Google Checkout Trends: That’s Weird

As we come up to the last days of fee-free merchant services from Google Checkout, the Official Google Checkout Blog announced yesterday that they now have Google Checkout Trends. Patterned after Google Trends, GCT shows relative revenues from Google Checkout merchants.

But let me just say: either Google Checkout merchants are atypical (likely) or something is really off here.

Just take a look at the comparison between revenue from the Zune (blue) and the iPod (red):
google checkout sales of ipods vs zunes

Just as a reminder, revenue is price x quantity sold (as GCT reminds you when you use it). So, on the day after Thanksgiving, Zune’s relative revenue was $64.65 and the iPod’s was $6.28. Uh huh. Somehow, I just don’t think the announcement of the Zune 2 would be enough to keep the Zune’s revenue that much higher than the iPod’s for nearly a month.

You Can Make Six Figures in SEM (If You Pay Your Dues)

SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, has released the results of its in-house SEM salary survey, taken late last year. The good news: you can make six figures in in-house SEM. The not-as-good news: it’ll take you 5 to 7 years to get there. (Yeah, I know, I was hoping not to have to work my way up, too.)

With 656 respondents, the survey looks at not only salaries but also experience levels, job titles and online spending budgets.

Some pretty graphs Salary information, by job title and experience level:
salaries for those with 0 to 3 years experience, from SEMPO

salaries for those with 5 to 7 years experience, from SEMPO

Other key findings:

  • Some 64% of the respondents have five years or less SEM experience
  • To make in the mid-to-high $100s to the $200K range, “you are usually going to have to invest five to seven years to get there.”

Online Holiday Spending for 2007: over $29B

comScore’s results from last year’s holiday season are in: the US spent over $29 billion in online holiday shopping. This is up 19% over last year’s total.

Monday, December 10 stayed the highest single day total, keeping its “Green Monday” title. However, unlike last year, the trend wasn’t successively higher-spending Mondays starting with “Cyber” Monday and ending with “Green” Monday. This year’s top ten highest single-day totals:

Day Dollars Spent (Millions)
Monday, December 10 (“Green Monday”) $881
Tuesday, December 11 $819
Thursday, December 6 $803
Wednesday, December 5 $798
Tuesday, December 4 $776
Wednesday, December 12 $754
Monday, December 3 $753
Friday, December 7 $734
Monday, November 26 (“Cyber Monday”) $733

Google Soon to Recognize Text in Images?

Information Week has reported that in June of 07 Google filed a patent application, which has just become available, outlining a “method of optical character recognition in digital images.” The application seems to cover both static images as well as video. The ability to do this could radically change a number of existing Google services as well as again change the way the Internet marketing world interacts with images and video.

Being able to identify text in images and video would be an extremely large leap in search engine indexing technology. Being able to index the content of videos and other new social media would most likely either force a change in the way search engines have to build their SERPs or provide opportunities to build highly relevant image and video search functions that could generate significant relevancy from the text content within the media.

Americans Turn to the Internet . . . and Libraries

The newest PEW/Internet and American Life study indicates just how important the Internet is becoming in . . . well, American Life. Of the nearly 2800 Americans surveyed, 58% turn to the Internet first for answers.

Sort of, anyway. The specific questions asked in the phone survey included whether respondents had experienced 10 specific problems recently. All of the problems included need access to the government or government-provided information. Of the respondents who had experienced at least one of those problems, 58% of them turned to the Internet for answers. Only 13% of them turned to the library for help. The ten specific problems:

  1. dealing with a serious illness or health concern
  2. making a decision about school enrollment, financing school, or upgrading work skills

The Newest Shopping Holiday: Green Monday

Dear Everyone Who Shopped Online Last Monday,

Thank you. Thank you for hearing my plea. Thank you for vindicating me.

Thank you for making Monday, December 10, the biggest shopping day on record (y’know, so far). With spending of $881 million, it far outclasses this year’s “Cyber Monday” ($733M) and the record-breaking-random-Thursday boom ($803M), with an almost $80 million edge. That’s not to mention a 33% increase over the same Monday last year, which only saw $661 million.

I’ve mentioned before (and even last year) that the biggest online shopping day has long been the second Monday in December. But finally this year, it was so big that it has been declared it the newest shopping holiday: “Green Monday.”

People Looking for Google on Ask.com

We’ve seen Yahoo’s most popular queries this year; we’ve seen Google’s. But we didn’t tell you about Ask’s top search queries for 2007.

Ask.com says they didn’t “sanitize” the list—as evidenced by including #3:

1. MySpace
2. Dictionary
3. Google
4. Themes
5. Area Codes
6. Cars
7. Weather
8. Games
9. Song Lyrics
10. Movies

And when they say they don’t sanitize it, they mean they didn’t take out porn terms, either. Odd . . . I could’ve sworn that the premise behind their big ad push this year was that Ask was a good way to find porn. . . .

Does it seem a little strange to anyone else how extremely generic these searches are? Other than MySpace and Google, what are these people looking for? “Themes”? The weather all over the entire world? Every movie ever made? Come on.