Oodle Gets a Vast Competitor

Great news for Oodle, they’re getting a competitor in the form of new classified search engine, Vast.com.

How can this be good news for Oodle? I’m a big fan of theirs but have seen how difficult a task it is to spread the word that classified search is going to be valuable in the future. With the launch of Vast, we now have validation that classifieds are going to be a hot topic in the next few years.

Competition is good in any industry. It ensures you keep innovating while spreading the cost associated with bringing awareness to the masses.

Memeorandum Launches Gossip Digger

One of the top resources we listed in our online reputation monitoring guide was Memeorandum (which includes the excellent tech.memorandum). Well, the Meme’ guys must have been reading Valleywag a little too often, because they have decided what the web needs is a new aggregator for celebrity gossip.

Enter WeSmirch, in a lovely shade of pink, to keep you updated on the most popular scandal and gossip.

Via Danny.

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Blogging Seminar – March 14, Triangle, NC

If you live in the Triangle area of North Carolina and are interested in learning more about blogging, I’ll be giving a talk on corporate blogging and reputation monitoring for the local chapter of the IABC.

Full details at their site.

For Search Engines, the Largest Community Wins

The BBC looks at how the search engine war has moved to a new battlefield.

No longer do the different search sites compete on how many results they can provide to people not least because, as even Google admits, most people get what they want in the first five results returned to them.

Instead, the BBC suggests that whichever search engine can develop “sticky” communities is likely to be the one that sees the most growth. On that basis, my money is on Yahoo, with IAC/Ask second, followed by AOL, then MSN. While Google is doing a great job of launching lots of cool tools, the others are doing a better job of integrating their offerings with well-defined communities.

The Buying Cycle of Online Buyers

The NYT has a short and sweet piece on how online shoppers conduct their searches.

Most prepurchase searches use only generic terms, like “hard drive.” Consumers tend to make these searches early on, and then conduct a small flurry of brand-name queries right before buying

At Fortune Interactive, we’re heavily focused on the different stages of an online buying cycle, so this story is a nice reminder for everyone focusing purely on the buy-stage words.

Also important to remember that once the online research is completed, most buyers don’t immediately make a purchase. They could come back to a site weeks later or even make their purchase at a physical store.

Google and DOJ Face Off

The Mercury News has everything you need to keep updated on the Bush administration’s attempts to get Google to reveal its data.

Sell Your Book Via Google

Danny has details of a new initiative from Google that will allow publishers (and authors) to sell online versions of their books through Google Book Search.

Publishers set a price, then consumers can buy and read the book online. At the moment, the program supposedly will not allow copies of the book to be saved to a computer or pages to be printed (“copy pages”) to be made.

Danny notes Google’s attempts to ward off complaints that Google is scanning books via the Google Library program and selling them. As Google states…

GOOGLE IS NOT SELLING BOOKS THAT IT HAS SCANNED FROM THE COMPLETELY SEPARATE GOOGLE LIBRARY PROGRAM.