Reminder – Subscribe to the RSS Feed for a Chance to Win an iPod or Zune

If you’ve not already subscribed to our RSS feed, now would be a good time. We’ve not yet posted the secret message – available only to RSS subscribers – that will see one lucky winner receive an iPod or possibly a Zune.

Full details of the contest can be found here.

Here’s that feed again – http://feeds.feedburner.com/marketing-pilgrim

P.S. For those of you reading this message in your RSS reader, this is NOT your cue to enter, this is just a reminder for those who have yet to subscribe. ;-)

Microsoft bCentral Directory Closes

Could it be? Have we just lost one of the three valuable directories (Yahoo, DMOZ and bCentral) – recommended by many when launching a new site?

It appears Microsoft has shutdown its Microsoft Small Business Center, including the bCentral directory. Users trying to sign-up from this page, are greeted with the closure announcement.

As of November 15, 2006 Microsoft will no longer accept new sign-ups for select Microsoft Online Small Business Services.

These services, previously marketed under the bCentral™ brand, include Appointment Manager, Banner Network Ads, Commerce Manager, Customer Manager, FastCounter Pro, List Builder, Sales Leads, SharePoint®, Submit it!, Traffic Builder, and Web Hosting Packages.

While the services appear to be re-branding as Microsoft Office Live, the new site has no mention of a directory. Yikes!

Channel Sponsors

Search Engine College Launches “Certification Pathways”

Kalena Jordan’s Search Engine College has launched Certification Pathways, a series of courses that come with a certificate of accomplishment. While there’s no single, industry-recognized, SEM certification, someone new to the industry can make up for a lack of experience by completing a course such as this.

As Kalena explains in the press release

Completion of one of our Certification Pathways indicates to a potential employer a graduate’s proficiency in the very latest search engine algorithms, guidelines and methodologies taught within our curriculum.

Three courses are offered, covering SEO and PPC.

Beginners Guide to Buying Links for SEO

If you’re not sure of the best way to buy links or how to judge if the link will benefit your web site, Text Link Brokers (a Pilgrim Partner) has published a Beginners Guide to Buying Links for SEO.

Here’s an example of the great advice contained in the guide…

The total number of outbound links on a page is an important factor to consider when purchasing a link. A site that has too many outbound links is not going to pass much link popularity. They are also at risk of being penalized in the search engines if the outbound links are thought to be “paid links” or are all pointing to “un-relevant” sites. On the other hand, if a site is authoritative in a particular field and naturally links to other sites in its industry, that is much different. Authoritative sites that link out to other sites are considered hubs and will provide a lot of benefit. This includes sites such as Wikipedia.org, Directory.Yahoo.com, DMOZ.com, and others.

Google Checkout Adding $10 to $30 Charity Donation

Google has announced new merchants using Google Checkout – Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Golfsmith, Linens ‘n Things among others – but more importantly, they’ve announced the addition of eight international charities.

Google will add $10 to every $30+ donation to any of the eight charities.

A nice gesture and great PR for Google Checkout.

Mobile Phone Operators Quaking in their Boots

It appears mobile phone operators are trying a new tact in their effort to compete with mobile app providers – begging them to stop.

Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives at Google, told an event at Oxford University’s Said Business School that “we’ve been getting notes from some of the telco carriers who are saying ‘look, you need to stop our customers from downloading this thing’.”

If only Alta Vista had thought to ask Google not to start a search engine, they might still be in business.

“Look, Larry, you and Sergey have created this new search engine and it’s simply taking away our user-base. You need to pull the plug on Google or else!” ;-)

Italy Investigating Google Employees for Video Violence

Now this is interesting. Italian prosecutors are investigating two Google Italy employees as part of an inquiry into how a violent video appeared on Google Video.

The two are being investigated for allegedly failing to check on the content of the video posted on the Internet search engine’s Web site.

As Reuters points out, the investigation doesn’t imply guilt, but it’s interesting that Italy appears to be holding the two Google employees accountable, as opposed to Google itself. It appears, Italy is investigating the event the same way it would investigate a journalist or TV reporter.

Italy’s Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni said the prosecutors had been right to apply to the Internet the same legislation that in Italy regulates what can be published in newspapers or broadcast on television.