Google’s Norvig Challenges Berners-Lee

While it can be fun to watch a heavyweight boxing fight, sometimes it can be even more enjoyable to watch two intellectual heavyweights go at it.

That happened recently when Google Peter Norvig challenged internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee of the his idea for a Semantic Web.

If I can pull Mike Marshall away from his work on the next SEMLogic case study, I’ll ask him to offer his thoughts.

UPDATE: Either Mike invented a time-machine or he’s just ahead of the game when it comes to the Semantic Web – either way he tells me he gave his thoughts on the topic back in January.

Yahoo Delays Upgrade To Paid Search Interface

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article titled “Yahoo Net Plummets Almost 80%; Ad-System Upgrade I Delayed.”

Terry Semel, Yahoo Chief Executive, states “Given the complexity and importance of going to market with an application of this scale, it probably requires a little more time than we originally anticipated.”

Instead of the system being ready around the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2006, it will be delayed to the 1st quarter of 2007.

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Investors Get Double Blow from Yahoo

According to the AP, Yahoo managed to meet analysts expectations for Q2 but revealed their new interface for paid search ads would be delayed.

A delay in launching a platform, that investors had hoped would drive up revenues, and quarterly earnings down nearly 80% compared to the same quarter in 2005, left Yahoo’s stock price with nowhere to go but down.

Investors have been eagerly awaiting the new ad platform, hoping the improvements would enable Yahoo to do a better job displaying short ads for Yahoo’s audiences to click. The clicks on those ads, which typically appear as text on the top and sides of Web pages, are critical because they trigger commissions for Yahoo and its partners.

Will Google Follow Yahoo, For Once?

Yahoo will be changing to its new interface soon. It will be very similar to Googles interface, except for one really neat feature. According to a post on WebmasterWorld.com you will still be able see your competitors bids.

I think this is great, but would love for it to go even a step further and show click through rates (CTR) as well. Yes, with this information we will probably be able to figure out the rest of their criteria for positioning, but is this a bad thing? If my bid and CTR are the same as my competitor, yet I am ranking lower, I have a choice of either raising my bid or creating a better, more relevant, landing page. Either way Yahoo wins. If I raise my bid, they make more money, if I create a better landing page, their content improves for the user.

Direct Navigation Advertising Matures Beyond Porn

It used to be that guessing a domain name, by directly typing it into your browser, would lead you to a site that would make even Hugh Hefner blush.

These days, “direct navigation” is used by 70% of web users and is estimated to be a $400-800 million advertising market.

The Miami Herald takes a closer look at companies betting that you’ll guess a site’s URL rather than search on Google or Yahoo.

Tough Questions for Google CEO

You have to give Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, credit for taking some tough questions at a recent conference and being open with his answers – even if a little sarcastic.

Reporter: How many acquisitions do you do?
Schmidt: “It’s one or two a week it seems. Most acquisitions: They are very small. 1-2-3 people and you never, never hear about them.�

Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells reporters:
“(During the 2004 IPO process), between the time we filed and the time we went public, the press was among the most unpleasant I have ever experienced.
“We (Google management) were ‘idiots,’ we were ‘useless’… I thought ‘God.’…It is a terrible feeling of being on the other side of that (press coverage).
“So we looked at (Google’s Web site) traffic and revenue and they were exploding… We had a very, very strong quarter right after the worst possible press about ‘the idiots running the company.’
“I don’t know what that tells you.
Schmidt then paused and begged the reporters to create a new Google press frenzy:
“So, yes we are IDIOTS — and please WRITE THAT DOWN.�

Revealing Search Engine Algorithms

Our thanks to Enid Burns for taking the time to talk to Mike Marshall and I about the new SEMLogic study we released today her ClickZ article.

Here’s an extract…

Inbound link quality is the only factor with the same relative influence across the board; Google, Yahoo and MSN’s algorithms. The engines look at a target site to determine the influence and reputation of each inbound link.

“It turns out that it’s actually the quality of [inbound links] than the quantity that wins the day,” said Michael Marshall, VP of technology at Fortune Interactive.

At Google, inbound links rank in the following order: quality, relevance, title keyword, anchor keyword, quantity. Further down the list, site factors such as title keyword, anchor keyword, body keyword, content relevance and title content weigh into the equation.