Exclusive – Yahoo Using Dirty Tactics to Switch Google & Firefox Users?

UPDATE: Here’s the official word from Yahoo spokesperson Terrell Karlsten. They’re claiming they don’t upgrade users to IE7 and their reasons for switching your settings? Everyone else does it.

Yahoo! Messenger’s update process does not download IE7 to a user’s computer. As part of the Yahoo! Messenger update process, people have the choice to download Yahoo! Toolbar, set Yahoo.com as their homepage and set Yahoo! Search as their search engine. This is an industry-wide practice….IE7 is not bundled into the Yahoo! Messenger update process.

UPDATE 2: Jarrod’s added a comment that suggests that IE7 was not added as part of the download, as he first described to us. All other aspects described below are known to be accurate, including changing the default browser to IE, changing the default homepage to Yahoo and changing the default search engine to Yahoo. The post has been updated.

Offertrax Allows Online Merchants to Use RSS to Connect With Customers

According to Springwise, a new company called Offertrax is launching a service that will help online merchants implement RSS feeds in an attempt to better connect with customers.

By letting merchants use RSS to distribute updates on products, Offertrax aims to bring visitors back for future conversions. How it works? The web-based application creates RSS feeds for entire online catalogues. Retailers just add a ‘track this’ button to each product page….Consumers can then subscribe to a product’s feed. As soon as a product’s price changes or a retailer announces a special offer, trackers are notified. Merchants can also send notes and deal alerts directly to trackers.

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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:

TechCrunch Makes Mistake With Banner Ads?

Have you visited TechCrunch today? Did you notice that really annoying 125×125 animated ad that just went up? What the…?

I’m not sure why Michael Arrington would think this is a good thing to allow on his site. Having six 125×125 ads on your blog is fine – we all need to make money – but they are only tolerated because they don’t annoy, i.e. they’re not animated.

Now that TechCrunch has allowed one animated ad, will it allow the other 5 to use animation? Can you imagine the user-experience at TechCrunch if you have 6 animated banner ads waiving at you from above the fold?

I think animated ads can work in moderation on a blog, but I’m never going to allow an animated 125×125 on this site, as I respect my readers too much – that is, I want y’all to come back!

Building Blog Traffic By Commenting

Douglas A Karr provides two great examples of how to build traffic to your blog.

In this post, he explains how he was able to generate a lot of traffic to his blog by simply engaging other bloggers in conversation. I’ve said before that commenting on other blogs is a great way to build awareness and traffic, now Douglas offers hard proof of that.

26.13% of visits to my site are through connections I’ve made through other sites! In addition, the number of page views of those visits is 1.86 pages versus 1.61 page views of those that find my site through search and other means. Wow! I hate to throw out the term flippantly, but this is the “Long Tail” of commenting, isn’t it?

TechCrunch Gives Away $10k of Free Advertising Thanks to MyBlogLog Exploit

It appears there is one downside to having the MyBlogLog profile script on your blog and SoloSEO’s Michael Jensen has discovered it. (disc)

He used automatic refresh on Opera, a fake MyBlogLog account and an experiment on hundreds of blogs, including TechCrunch. He discovered that it’s easy to display any profile continually on blogs using the MyBlogLog script and generate lots of free traffic.

UPDATE: TechCrunch responds.

Inc. 500 Embracing Social Media Faster Than Fortune 500

There’s a new found reason why companies make the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies – they’re embracing social media.

Eric Mattson and Nora Ganim Barnes have put together a study on social media adoption among 121 members of the Inc. 500 and discovered some pretty interesting stats.

How familiar are the Inc. 500 with with various social media?

  • 42% are familiar with social networking
  • 38% are familiar with message boards
  • 36% are familiar with blogging

What types of social media are they using?

  • 33% are using message boards
  • 27% social networking
  • 24% online videos
  • 19% blogging

Finally, 66% of those surveyed said social media was either “very important” or “somewhat important” to their marketing strategy. Great news for anyone in the social media space!