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Is Google Overrated? Danny Sullivan Fights Another Battle.

When Danny Sullivan’s not busy protecting the reputation of SEO, he’s off fighting crime protecting the reputation of Google.

In this month’s issue of Fast Company, Danny squares off against Donna Bogatin, and fights against claims that the world’s largest search engine is tapped out.

Google Plans AdWords Algorithm Change; Expects Complaints

UPDATE: It looks like Google’s pushed the button too early – and it could be the wrong button too. Lots of people are complaining that their Quality Score has gone crazy.

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I just got off the phone with Google’s Nick Fox, Senior Business Product Manager for Ad Quality, and got the scoop on the upcoming changes to the AdWords Quality Score.

As we reported earlier today, Google is indeed planning a change to the Quality Score, with two major updates.

  1. The addition of a new column in AdWords campaigns, showing the Quality Score.
  2. A change to the Quality Score algorithm.

Fox explained the addition of the new column was Google’s effort to “improve transparency” and “make it easier to understand the quality score.” He also explained that Google hoped the new Quality Score information would “help advertisers optimize their ads.”

The new data will be available as early as tomorrow afternoon, which is a key move in anticipation of an algorithm tweak to the Quality Score in the next week or two. By being more transparent with the scoring, Google hopes to prevent any backlash that may come with the new algo.

While the new algorithm shift won’t be as dramatic as when Google introduced the landing page factors, Fox does expect to hear some complaining from advertisers. He confirmed that the new algo “will impact a fairly large number of keywords”, which might lead to a knee-jerk complaint by a large contingent of AdWords advertisers. However, Fox stressed the “bulk of the impact will be on keywords not driving traffic.”

Lenoir Officials Abandoned Economic Study of Google Tax Incentives

Wow, it’s going to be hard for Lenoir and Caldwell County officials to keep justifying their decision, to provide Google with 30 years of tax breaks, when they didn’t even finish an economic study to see if a data center would be beneficial or not.

Local officials ran a computer analysis that determined a state job-creation grant of almost $5 million would generate more than $45 million in state revenue over 12 years. But they didn’t study whether committing to three decades of tax breaks made economic sense. “Intuitively, the numbers showed it was a good deal,” Lenoir City Manager Lane Bailey said Wednesday.

Oh cool, because there’s nothing us taxpayers trust more than the intuition of our elected officials.

Hat-tip Techdirt.

Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Buys Doctorate from Stanford for $75 Million?

Ok, so that title edged me more towards Threadwatch (just kidding guys), than it did the WSJ, but I figured it might get your attention.

That being said, would it be surprising if Stanford awarded Yahoo co-founder an honorary doctorate as a “thank you” for his $75 million contribution?

Of the total, $50 million will pay for a new environment and energy building and $5 million will go towards a doctor training facility for Stanford’s medical school. The remaining $20 million will be used for future projects, Stanford said.

Of course, this is all just a little fun. Nothing but respect for Yang for making the donation.

Via SEL.

Yahoo SearchLight Awards Next Week

Yahoo asked us nicely – so we’re obliging – if we’d let all search marketers know about the upcoming Searchlight Award Show.

The 2007 Yahoo! Searchlight Award Show celebrates the best and brightest in search advertising. A panel of industry experts will evaluate four agency campaigns and the audience will vote for the winner. This is an exclusive event for marketers and advertising agencies, featuring a keynote address by Laura Desmond, CEO Starcom MediaVest Group, on industry issues and the opportunities facing today’s marketers. The event will be an enjoyable and entertaining celebration of creativity in marketing.

The event is Feb 22 at the Time-Life Building in New York. You can register here.

Note: No tchotckes or logoed apparel were exchanged as part of this announcement. We did it ‘cos they asked politely. ;-)

Yahoo Leaks Continue; Why Doesn’t this Happen to Google?

OK, so TechCrunch has acquired a copy of an email sent out to all Yahoo employees, by CFO Susan Decker. It’s a long-winded memo highlighting restructuring and promotions (congrats to Tim Cadogan).

I’m not going to re-hash the entire email, but I do want to ask this (not so) rhetorical question:

“What does the leaking of internal emails say about the morale and unity at Yahoo?”

It’s interesting that while getting this kind of stuff from Google is like getting blood out of a stone – Google employees are very loyal to the vision – Yahoo employees are leaking this stuff out to the public.

If Yahoo is going to make a legitimate attempt to gain ground on Google, it needs to look within the core. It’s going be tough to fight the battle, if you don’t have the loyalty and support of the troops.

Omniture Acquires Touch Clarity

ClickZ is reporting web analytics firm, Omniture, has acquired Touch Clarity, a site-side behavioral targeting and analysis firm.

Utah-based Omniture said the deal should be completed before the end of the first quarter. In addition to spending up to $51.5 million to acquire the privately held, London-based Touch Clarity, Omniture will spend about $8.5 million for assumed vested stock options, the company said.

The acquisition will give Omniture the ability to analyze user behavior, alongside their existing analytics, and bring 50 employees and clients such as AOL and British Telecom to the mix.