Small Firms Turn to Local Advertising Solutions

The WSJ looks at how small companies are turning to local ad solutions in order to spread the word at lower cost.

Low cost TV ad firm, Spot Runner; local search ads with Yahoo and Google; and Craigslist, are all explored in the piece.

Google Announces New Landing Page Standards for AdWords

Jennifer Slegg has details of a new announcement from the Google Adwords blog. It looks like Google is tweaking the landing page quality score algorithm in an effort to weed-out those advertisers trying to get cheap traffic to poorly designed landing pages.

It is suspected that those doing click arbitrage will likely be amongst the first to be affected, as many offer landing pages with nothing or little else other than Google or Yahoo ads. Click arbitrage involves buying inexpensive pay per click traffic, such as from Google AdWords. The advertiser then hopes that each visitor will hit the landing page and then click a higher-paying ad (often Google AdSense or Yahoo ContentMatch) to leave the page. As a result, many click arbitragers have either no content on the page other than the ads or just enough content to influence the AdSense ads.

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Google Happy to Allow Click Fraud

Ok, so ZDNet has likely taken Google CEO, Eric Schmidt’s comments out of context, but it looks as though the search engine top-dog believes click fraud should be left alone to self-correct.

According to Schmidt, Google’s auction-based pay-per-click advertising model is inherently self-correcting. Schmidt’s scenario for what would happen if Google did not police click fraud and it was “rampant�:

“Eventually, the price that the advertiser is willing to pay for the conversion will decline, because the advertiser will realize that these are bad clicks, in other words, the value of the ad declines, so over some amount of time, the system is in-fact, self-correcting. In fact, there is a perfect economic solution which is to let it happen.”

Google Admits Throwing Products at Wall to See What Sticks

In a San Francisco Chronicle story published today, Google admits that it doesn’t expect every product it launches to be a category-killer.

Google executives acknowledge that some of the company’s products are more a shot in the dark than a deliberate strategy. Their philosophy is to introduce features as quickly as possible, even if they are incomplete, and make improvements later based on feedback.

Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, responded to the snickers at the company’s media day for journalists in May, saying, “I think what we need to do better is sort of communicate the things that we actually expect to work well and the things that — really, you guys are the guinea pigs.”

Why not do that? Let’s see what you really think will be a success and see if it happens. ;-)

It All Adds Up to Google Spreadsheets

The LA Times thinks its readers should get to know Google’ Spreadsheet offering and has published part one of two-part series on how to use new tool.

As programs go, it is far more powerful and functional than the original VisiCalc, though admittedly less so than Excel. Its great benefit, other than the generic technology, is that it is a) free, b) readily available from any Internet connection and c) easily shared with others.

Friendster Awarded Social Networks Patent

TechCrunch is reporting that social networking site Friendster – is it still going? – has been awarded a broad patent for social networks.

The patent covers the determining and display of relationships between individuals who have entered personal information into a social network; specifically, determining who is in your circle of friends and who isn’t.

So now, if Friendster finds itself lagging behind the likes of MySpace or Facebook, they can just sue the pants off them for patent infringement. At last, a they’ve found a revenue model that could work! ;-)

Copernic Offers Branded Desktop Search’s Copernic division has just announced a new private label program for its award-winning desktop search tool.

The new branded desktop search allows companies to create their own “sticky” desktop search solution.

“We believe the Private Branding Program will allow ISPs and portals to establish a competitive barrier against the threat being posed by the introduction of desktop search tools by Google and Microsoft and help them ensure stronger user retention, while enhancing their users search experience,” said Guy Faure, President and CEO of