Google Releases Confidential User Information

Google's Security Guard While last week’s suggestion that Yahoo was switching browser preferences without explicit permission, was a black mark for the company, it doesn’t come close to the allegations that Google has revealed confidential information about its users.

TechCrunch is reporting that Google’s anti-phising blacklist contained confidential usernames and passwords of individuals, including logins for bank accounts etc.

Google has not publicly discussed the error, although they quietly removed the offending data. They have, however, acknowledged it in email correspondence with Finjan, which was forwarded to me. Google has since removed the confidential data.

Ok, I can take a search engine switching my settings, but dumping my username and passwords on to the web? Very bad! Especially as Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Marketing Pilgrim how AOL’s screw-up would not happen at Google.

The Godfather of Search? What About the Godmother?

Last week I received a quick email from Jeremy Shoemaker, asking me who I thought the “Godfather of Search” was. Shoemoney explained that he had heard many difference responses to that question, so wanted to blog about it. Seeing that “Search” has different connotations in our industry – “search marketing” or “search industry – I asked him which he meant. Wanting my initial gut reaction, he didn’t want to clarify his question any further. Fair enough, so I gave him this answer…

I’d have to say Larry Page. Assuming “godfather” means the person that controls a specific industry and has all the power, you’d have a hard time finding anyone with more power than Page (and sidekick Sergey Brin). Without PageRank, we’d have no Google, and without Google, search would not be what it is today. Google controls search, Page and Brin control Google.

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Wikipedia Links No Longer Passing PageRank

SEJ reports that Wikipedia has gone ahead and added the NOFOLLOW attribute to all external links, effectively dismissing any link-juice value from Wikipedia links.

While marketers may still benefit from the actual link traffic, this marks the end of receiving any PageRank value from the highly-respected resource.

So, in response, any future links to Wikipedia from us, will include a NOFOLLOW. Maybe if we all take that approach, Wikipedia will lose its PageRank and won’t have to worry about link-spam any longer. ;-)

Join the “NOFOLLOW me to Wikipedia” campaign!

Pilgrim’s Picks – Friday’s Internet Marketing News Links

Here’s everything else that caught my eye today, but didn’t make it to the blog.

If you’re not already reading Pilgrim’s Picks, or subscribing to its RSS feed, you’re missing all this great stuff!

Google Allows Competing Contextual Ads on Same Page as AdSense

JenSense has the scoop on Google’s policy change that will allow publishers to display competing contextual ad units, alongside AdSense, so long as they don’t look like Google’s ads.

“When it comes to enforcing policies on third-party contextual ads, we’ll be following the updated program policies instead of the T&Cs on this point. That is to say, publishers may now display other contextual ads on the same site or page as Google ads as long as they don’t have the same look and feel as our ads,” Brian Axe tells Jennifer Slegg of JenSense.

Jennifer does warn that you still have to ensure the other ad units don’t have a TOS that prevents you showing alongside others. e.g. Yahoo still won’t let you show their ads alongside other contextual ad units, such as AdSense.

Why Marketing Agencies Shouldn’t Publish Their Fees

Karri Flatla has given me a good topic for a future article in the business coaching series. She argues that B2B firms should publish their prices on their web site

What is worse is that business owners will rationalize their choice to not list prices until they are blue in the face, claiming they want their visitors to shop value, not price. This is apparently in hopes that the unsuspecting visitor will call them up to find out the price. It’s very egocentric when you think about it. Moreover, by not listing prices, you frustrate your users and, in effect draw more attention to the “How much does it cost?” question. I doubt that is the intended effect.

Google Officially Selects Lenoir for Data Center

Hot off the press comes news that Google has officially selected Lenoir, in North Carolina, for the site of its $600 million data center.

Gov. Mike Easley announced Google has selected the Caldwell County location and will create around 210 new jobs.

“This company will provide hundreds of good-paying, knowledge-based jobs that North Carolina’s citizens want,” Easley said in a statement. “It will help reinvigorate an area hard hit by the loss of furniture and textile jobs with 21st century opportunities.”

Yay for North Carolina!

Hat-tip to Sheila.