Searchers Pre-Map Search Engine Results

I’ve told Gord Hotchkiss he “rocks” on previous occasions – which he once told me helped him win some “cool” points with his kids. Well, his new article on search engine “pre-mapping” deserves the same accolade.

Here’s all you need to know about pre-mapping, from Gord’s article…

Pre-Mapping supposes that we’ve interacted with search results pages enough to know the sections of real estate we typically deal with. We know where the top sponsored ads are and what they are. We know about where the top organic listings start. And in our minds, we already have a good idea of the type of site we’re looking for and approximately where we expect it to appear. Before the page ever loads, we’ve already mapped out the sections that would appear to hold the greatest promise to deliver on our intent. As the page loads, we do a split-second scan to get our bearings (orient in the top left corner, see how many top ads there are, see where organic starts) and then we go to the part of the map we’ve predetermined to be our best starting point.

“Google” Officially a Verb, We’ve Got More For You

I don’t think I have ever said “google it”, but it appears enough other people have to warrant Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary adding the verb to it’s latest edition.

“Google is definitely a verb,” said Dan Reynolds, a 35-year-old salesman at YES Computers in Northampton. “Google has become like a secondary brain for a lot of people. If you want quick info on something, that’s what you do. You google it.”

Respectful of the trademark, Merriam-Webster lowercases the entry but maintains the capitalization while explaining that the verb means “to use the Google search engine” to retrieve online information.

“We’re defining a trademark as a verb, just like we did with the word xerox,” Morse said.

The looks at other popular names that have gone on to become verbs. Xeroxed and Photoshopped are well known examples.

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eBay Decides to Ban Google Checkout

We reported on speculation that eBay may decide that Google Checkout is too much of a threat and use its “Safe Payments Policy” to prevent eBay sellers from using the PayPal rival.

Well, surprise! eBay has done just that, with this update to their policy:

Payment Services not permitted on eBay:,,,,,,, CCAvenue, ecount, e-gold,,, EuroGiro,, Google Checkout, gcash, GearPay,,,,, Liberty Dollars,,,,,,, paypay, Postepay,,,,, stamps, Stormpay,,

Why have a good clean fight, when you can handicap the competition instead?

Via Wingo.

Angry Customers Get Even With Video and Blogs

The Washington Post looks at how upset customers are no longer content to tell their neighbor, they’re out to tell the world with videos and blogs.

“This has been a wake-up call for these companies,” she said. “The day where you send a little letter to the CEO is over. In the age of technology, you have to be even more careful of how you treat your customers because you don’t know where they’re going to go. Now everything’s out in the open.”

There’s no doubt that voicing your complaint via a blog, is a powerful option right now (hence companies asking us to monitor their reputation). That said, it will be interesting to see at what point we start tuning out those that complain via their blog. After all, it takes less than 5 minutes to create an anonymous blog and make-up negative stories about a company. There’s no accountability and often no clue as to the perpetrator.

Click Fraud a $1.3 Billion Problem

Verne Kopytoff reports on a new click-fraud study released by Outsell, Inc. The study interviewed 407 online advertisers and led to an estimation that more than $800 million of clicks in 2005 were fraudulent and estimates $1.3 billion of fraud this year.

What else did the study discover?

Clicks believed by advertisers to be fraudulent: 14.6 percent

Money paid by advertisers for bogus clicks: $800 million (2005)

Advertisers who said they were victims of click fraud: 75 percent

Advertisers who said they reduced click-based advertising or plan to: 37 percent

Revenue lost by Google, Yahoo and other Web sites, as a result: $500 million

Advertisers who request refunds because of fraud: 7 percent

Average refund: $9,507

Did Google Reveal Spam Scoring?

News that Google may have accidently revealed secret spam scores, has the SEO community buzzing.

Here’s a sample of what was found in one site’s Google cache info:

pacemaker-alarm-delay-in-ms-overall-sum 2341989 pacemaker-alarm-delay-in-ms-total-count 7776761 cpu-utilization 1.28 cpu-speed 2800000000 timedout-queries_total 14227 num-docinfo_total 10680907 avg-latency-ms_total 3545152552 num-docinfo_total 10680907 num-docinfo-disk_total 2200918 queries_total 1229799558 e_supplemental=150000 –pagerank_cutoff_decrease_per_round=100 –pagerank_cutoff_increase_per_round=500 –parents=12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23 –pass_country_to_leaves –phil_max_doc_activation=0.5 –port_base=32311 –production –rewrite_noncompositional_compounds –rpc_resolve_unreachable_servers –scale_prvec4_to_prvec –sections_to_retrieve=body+url+compactanchors –servlets=ascorer –supplemental_tier_section=body+url+compactanchors –threaded_logging –nouse_compressed_urls –use_domain_match –nouse_experimental_indyrank –use_experimental_spamscore –use_gwd –use_query_classifier –use_spamscore –using_borg

More at SE Watch.

Does the TechMeme Few Represent the Blogging Many?

Jeremiah takes a light-hearted look at whether TechMeme can be compared to a representative democracy.

It’s occurred to me that TechMeme, much like many democratic forms of government is actually a Representative Or Electorial Democracy–the spokespersons are elected (by links) to have a seat and speak their mind in the anointed forum. They often represent the voices of others (by linking out) and draw conclusions from within.

I certainly think my voice on TechMeme represents the cynical minority (most of the time), but it’s an interesting comparison. TechMeme certainly does a good job of conveying the general consensus of bloggers – just by reading TechMeme, you can ascertain whether a news story is considered positive or negative.