Google Admits China Censorship Hurt Reputation

Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, has admitted the company’s decision to censor its search results to appease the Chinese government, damaged the public perception of the company.

Asked whether he regretted the decision, Mr Brin admitted yesterday: “On a business level, that decision to censor… was a net negative.”…Mr Brin said the company had suffered because of the damage to its reputation in the US and Europe.

Despite the negative response, Google doesn’t appear ready to back-track on its decision.

Co-founder Larry Page said: “We always consider what to do. But I don’t think we as a company should be making decisions based on too much perception.”

Page added that most of the negative reactions came from people reading headlines and not actually exploring the details of Google’s move.

Watching Whether Companies DoTheRightThing.com

I’ve noticed a new referrer in my Google Analytics stats, over the past few days. DoTheRightThing.com has been sending some decent visitor numbers to the Yahoo story we ran a couple of weeks back.

I headed over to the site to see who they are and discovered a digg-like community that rates companies positively or negatively based upon their actions.

The company was founded in 2006 by Ryan Mickle and Rod Ebrahimi and it appears their goal is to provide a platform of accountability for big businesses.

GoDaddy, Wal-Mart and Starbucks are among the current companies under the social microscope. Companies tracking sentiment analysis of their online reputation would be wise to add this site to the list.

Channel Sponsors

How Far Are You Willing To Go For Linkbait?

It looks like the Copeac Affiliate Network and WickedFire Forums decided to play shirtbait at the recent Affiliate Summit. I didn’t attend but Shoemoney did and he posted a picture of the Copeace shirt. I won’t even try to put in words what the shirt says as I don’t want Andy’s site ranking for such things, but let’s just say it goes to the edge if not over.

This is an obvious attempt to create the type of buzz that I have the feeling is about to happen. I am a fan of both WickedFire and Copeac. They are both run by some great people who are very smart.

Targeting Online Ads to a User Session

Merrell Ligons has come up with a new idea for targeting ads on a web site. As you know, it often takes repeat exposure to get a consumer to notice an ad and recall the company. Merrell suggests that, instead of exposing a site visitor to multiple ads, why not show them just one ad for their entire user session?

What if an advertiser was able to sponsor user sessions instead of buying impressions? For the less technical folks, what if we could guarantee an advertiser that as long as someone is on a website their ad or ads would be the only ones displayed. You could even have a series of banners that displays in succession as the user clicks through the website. 

Google, Apple and YouTube Named 2006 Top Brands

Online branding magazine Brandchannel.com asked 3,625 branding professionals and students to vote on “Which brand had the most impact on our lives in 2006?”.

Here are the top 5 global brands, based purely on impact of the brand:

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. YouTube
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Starbucks

The list order changes a little, when you look just at North America:

  1. Apple
  2. YouTube
  3. Google
  4. Starbucks
  5. Wikipedia

Curious about Europe?

  1. Ikea
  2. Skype
  3. Nokia
  4. Zara
  5. Adidas

Google Defuses Googlebombs; Does this Change Link Building Practices?

Google has announced they’ve made some changes to their algorithm to try to identify and suppress the instances of Googlebombs (when many people link to the same page with the same keyword, in an attempt to get that page to rank for an obscure or insulting phrase).

By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs. Now we will typically return commentary, discussions, and articles about the Googlebombs instead….the extra effort to find a good algorithm helps detect Googlebombs in many different languages.

Ok, that’s a great effort. No one really benefits from seeing a Googlebomb listed in the search results, but what does this do for your link building efforts?

Google Updating PageRank Again; Yay for Us!

Barry has reports that Google is again updating the publicly displayed PageRank values for certain websites. Barry’s skeptical, as Google only updated a couple of weeks ago.

Well, I can confirm that some sites have indeed seen a change in PageRank, including Marketing Pilgrim – I almost fell off the chair when I first saw our PR had increased to seven.

Thanks to all the Pilgrims who have help us grow over the past 18 months and linked to us in the process. The last 6 weeks have in particular been a wild ride, with our traffic and Alexa ranking doubling in that period. We’ll keep striving to bring you great value and hot stories throughout 2007.

On that note, be sure to check back on Monday for a new announcement from us.