PPC Zombies Ramp-up Click Fraud

Back in February, guest poster Mike O’Krongli predicted Google could suffer at the hands of click fraud zombies.

Picture thousands of PC’s infected with some malicious virus that does nothing but click on PPC ads. The ads these zombies are clicking are found on the virus’s authors site. For each 1000 clicks, the author receives $2.00 (2004-2005) at the lowest rate. If the virus’s author had 10,000 infected PC’s clicking on 1 ad every 5 minutes for 8 random hours a day, they would steal $3200.00 per day from AdWords customers. That rate of traffic would be undetectable to Google and make it almost impossible for the AdWord customer to charge back.

Well, Mike was right on the money, as reports surface on a new zombie network at work.

Microsoft’s Scoble Ready to Rumble with Google

Microsoft’s Robert Scoble is excited to see Google Spreadsheet launch today. Excited? Yup, Scoble firmly believes that Google’s new found rivalry with Microsoft is just what the Redmond company needed to ensure it doesn’t become complacent.

It’s a good thing because of my philosophy. I want better software. Competition brings better software. It gets product managers to worry about customers. It causes discussions of features that were long-ago decided on.

Scoble also suggests that despite recent improvements, bandwidth is not sufficient enough for most people to switch to online applications.

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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.

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.