Bloglines Founder Leaving Ask.com

The founder of RSS reader Bloglines, Mark Fletcher, has announced that he is leaving the company to explore new opportunities. Mark sold Bloglines to Ask.com back in February 2005.

So what’s next? At some point I’ll start another company; that’s a difficult habit to break. But I’m also going to focus more of my time helping other startups and newbie entrepreneurs, something I’m finding increasingly rewarding.

Good luck Mark!

Via SEW.

Yahoo Updates MyWeb

Over at the Yahoo Search blog, you’ll find details of new upgrades to MyWeb.

Channel Sponsors

Focus on Top 4 Percent of Site Searches

ClickZ takes a look at a new WebSideStory study that concludes the top 4% of site search keywords account for more than half of all site search queries.

By making changes to their site to improve results for those top few hundred search terms, marketers will be closing the loop on more leads driven to the site with other marketing efforts, Kusmer said. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly 12 percent of all site searches return zero results, which also represents a missed opportunity for marketers, he said.

Great advice. How does your site search stack-up? The study shows that visitors who utilize a site search feature are 2.7 times more likely to convert than other visitors. That is, if you have a decent site search engine.

Google Calendar Trumps Yahoo Offering

I played a little with both Yahoo Calendar and Google Calendar. While each of them have some neat features, neither have enough to convince me to give-up Outlook.

CNet has a head-to-head battle royale between Google’s and Yahoo’s calendar offerings.

Spoiler – Google wins! ;-)

Google Spreadsheets Sounds Cool, But Why?

CNet (and a host of others) reports Google will today launch Google Spreadsheets, an online spreadsheet program that will compete with Microsoft’s Excel. The question is, why?

Google is getting so far outside its comfort zone, it risks tarnishing its brand by launching a crappy product because it reached too far. For example, have you tried using Writely (Google’s online word processor)? It’s a piece of junk. We’ve tried using it in-house to collaborate on documents and it never correctly saves and notes edits made.

I see two reasons for launching Google Spreadsheets, one of them legitimate.

1. Stickiness – The more products you use, that are owned by Google, the more likely you are to use Google’s search engine. Verdict: Legit.
2. Microsoft – Google is determined to “get up in Microsoft’s grill” and is launching products simply to take shots at the software company. Verdict: You can’t “out-Microsoft” Microsoft.

Yahoo Answers What Google Can’t

I would never have thought Yahoo Answers would turn out to be such a big hit for the company, especially as Google Answers has pretty much been stagnant since its launch. However, Forbes reports Lehman Brothers took a look at Yahoo Answers and said it could have a positive long-term positive impact on Yahoo’s position.

One of the main differences between Google and Yahoo? Yahoo chose to tap into the community and have users post questions for free, relying on the community’s desire to help a fellow netizen out, without being compensated. Meanwhile, Google chose to monetize Google Answers right away, with a fee for the question and a revenue share with the person answering.

Looks like Google chose the wrong model.

SunRocket Scraps Everyday Hogwash, Stiffs Judges

Remember back in January, I voiced my concerns about SunRocket’s “Everyday Hogwash” contest and how it was giving bloggers a bad name by paying them to gripe? At first, I thought I was a lone voice, but then many others voiced their concerns.

Well, it all went quiet until today, when the Consumerist reported that SunRocket had not only scrapped the contest, but had stiffed the judges out of the $500 they were promised.

Oh the irony. :-)