Ask.com Launches AskCity

Ask.com has taken its existing maps service, combined it with content from parent-company IAC’s CitySearch and Ticketmaster, stirred the ingredients and baked at 400F for 20 minutes. The result? A great new way to search for business, events, movies and maps using a new service called AskCity.

The interface is easy to use, and the 3-panel layout means you’ll keep track of your search. The integration of IAC’s CitySearch and Ticketmaster, means you can also purchase tickets for your favorite events!

Just one question for Ask.com. How hard is it to coordinate the launch with your own blog announcement? This is a great launch and shows how Ask will continue to benefit from IAC, so this two-line note on your blog doesn’t cut-it. Sorry.

Can I be a Fresh Egg Intern Too?

Reading SEOmoz’s Rebecca Kelley’s recap of her two weeks interning for SEO firm Fresh Egg, made me wish I could go too! It sounds like Rebecca got a lot of great training from her time with Ammon and the rest of the Fresh Egg crew.

She also got to eat fish and chips and a take a day-trip to my home-town, Brighton. I’m so jealous!

If you’re looking to get a great foundation in SEO, it sounds like a two-week stint as a Fresh Egg intern, is a great investment.

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Google’s Matt Cutts Offers Feedback on Banned Site

Matt Cutts is a great guy, which is what makes him so valuable to Google. Until he came along, search marketers had to rely on pure guesswork and speculation. While we still have to use guesswork and speculation, Matt does a great job of filling-in the blanks.

Take this recent post, for example, where Matt explains how Google detected spam on a page, removed it from the index, and tried to contact the site owners to let them know.

I love the transparency from Google, but it’s a shame that it’s not consistent. Matt, how long before we get to the point that EVERY web site owner is contacted when a site is penalized?

CNET Gets it Wrong about Digg Optimization

I’m normally a fan of Elinor Mills stuff on CNET, but her story about the manipulation of Digg is just wrong, wrong and wrong.

The article basically discusses how marketers are using Digg to promote their company. This social media marketing is no different to search engine marketing, and those that try to get stories on the front page of Digg still need to provide quality content, or the community will bury it.

It’s not a scam or spam, yet Elinor refers to the practice in the same way SEO used to be discussed, a few years back. She refers to the “scammers” and “spammers” who are out to game Digg.

And how would you define a “splog”. I certainly would not use this description…

WebTrends & iCrossing Make Acquisitions

I have to admit, I’ve never heard of the company ClickShift, but WebTrends certainly has. The web analytics company has just announced the acquisition of the paid search optimization firm.

So what exactly does ClickShift offer? ClickZ tells us

[ClickShift] will allow marketers to optimize their paid search campaign against any criteria. It automates multivariate testing of keyword, creative, landing page, and search ad network to find the most effective combinations, and reallocate the appropriate budget to that campaign.

ClickZ also reports that iCrossing has acquired Newgate Internet, a company offering , paid search, reputation management and word of mouth services.

SEO Videos for Beginners

GSINC Ltd’s Gareth Davies (disclaimer) has put together a great series of online video tutorials aimed at those new to search engine optimization.

Gareth’s put together 6 videos, starting with a beginners guide to optimizing the Title tag.

It’s a refreshing change to the “Top 10″ list format, and Gareth’s instructional style is clear, easy to follow and authoritative (an English accent helps).

Meet Ben Wills at SES Chicago – Free Beer!

Ben Wills has been a busy boy since winning our SEM Scholarship contest. The newly established social media marketing consultant will be at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago, signing autographs and explaining exactly how to take advantage of social networks.

Just in case you don’t happen to see Ben while zipping between sessions, he and I will spend some time propping up the hotel bar, and we’d love for you to join us. As an extra incentive, I’ll buy a drink for the first 25 people that catch Ben and I at the bar – we’re not sure when, so you’ll have to just keep an eye open. You’ll need to find both of us – ‘cos I’ll be the one buying. ;-)