Amazon Launches Askville

Amazon is apparently inviting select customers to join a new community it is calling Askville, according to overstated.

As a valued Amazon customer, you’ve been specially picked to get an early look at a new website called Askville where you can ask any question on any topic and get real answers from real people. It’s new, and best of all, it’s free!

While Google Answers was the first, Yahoo Answers has grown the fastest, simply because, unlike Google, Yahoo doesn’t make a charge for each question. Amazon takes the “free” format a step further, by actually offering rewards to those who ask and answer questions.

Google Integrates Dodgeball

Back in May of last year, Google acquired mobile social network, dodgeball.com. The service allows users to find nearby friends using their cell phones.

TechCrunch has noticed that dodgeball has now been integrated with Google Accounts, as the company steps-up its efforts to attack mobile search.

I wonder if it will take Google as long to integrate YouTube with Google Accounts.

Channel Sponsors

Where’s Your SEM Scholarship Article Entry?

I know it’s been a busy news week, with Yahoo and Google both announcing upgrades to the paid search products, but where the heck are the scholarship entries?

If you’re considering entering the contest, this is the week to do it as we have NO ENTRIES this week. None, nada, zip!

I guess a $5,000 scholarship prize that includes a full pass to the next Search Engine Strategies show, is not enough of an incentive for ya?

We’re upping the ante even more, with the addition of 1 year of AdWatcher service (ad tracking and click fraud monitoring) and 1 year of AdScientist service (bid management), courtesy of the guys behind the Search Marketing Standard magazine.

The prize package is now worth more than $6,000, so what in the world are you waiting for? :-)

Why Those in Glass Blog Houses, Shouldn’t Throw Stones

There’s a reason why A-list bloggers shouldn’t try and set standards for blogging or criticize other’s blogging attempts. Edelman’s recent blow-up with their handling of the Wal-Mart blog demonstrates how karma can come back and bite you in the butt.

Citysearch Adds Mobile Search

Greg Sterling reports Citysearch has launched a text-based mobile local search service.

Results I received were also “sponsored.” Rather than a relevant advertiser link at the top of results, there was an advertiser-sponsor referenced at the bottom. The advertiser had nothing to do with my particular search for hotels but I would expect over time that will change.

Google Harnessing the Sun

Google plans to take advantage of the sun, with the installation of solar panels to deliver 30% of its power consumption.

Soon we plan to begin installation of 1.6 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels at our Mountain View campus. This project will be the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the U.S., and we think it’s one of the largest on any corporate site in the world.

This should put to rest the rumor that the sun shines out of Google’s @ss – if it did, they wouldn’t need the panels! (sorry, couldn’t resist). ;-)

Throw Your External Metrics Data Out the Window

Rand Fishkin has put together a whole bunch of analytical data from some of the top search bloggers. He asked a couple dozen SEM bloggers to share their visitor data and then compared it with external services such as Alexa and Hitwise.

The conclusion?

Based on the evidence we’ve gathered here, it’s safe to say that no external metric, traffic prediction service or ranking system available on the web today provides any accuracy when compared with real numbers.

If you want to learn more about where the top search bloggers get their traffic, check out the study.

PS. I had to turn down the offer to participate as when I left FI, I had to start a new Google Analytics account and didn’t have enough data. :-(