How Google Can Win AOL

Tom Foremski thinks that Google has a good chance of keeping its relationship with AOL. He explains that it’s not simply a case of who’s promising the most cash.

Google has a massive sales force that is already established in every significant metropolitan area in the world. And that sales force has been forming key customer relationships for several years.

Is it better to take the bigger offer? Could there be any question of potential brand damage if AOL gets a reputation as place where ads convert poorly?

Where do CEO fiduciary duties to shareholders stand at Time-Warner? Maximize short-term profits at the expense of long-term?

As Foremski points out, AOL could be seen as losing – no matter who they select – simply because they won’t own the advertisers themselves.

Amazon Offering Alexa Index to Everyone

JB takes a look at Amazon’s decision to offer up use of Alexa’s index to anyone wishing to pay a modest fee.

Anyone can also use Alexa’s servers and processing power to mine its index to discover things – perhaps, to outsource the crawl needed to create a vertical search engine, for example. Or maybe to build new kinds of search engines entirely, or …well, whatever creative folks can dream up. And then, anyone can run that new service on Alexa’s (er…Amazon’s) platform, should they wish.

It’s all done via web services. It’s all integrated with Amazon’s fabled web services platform. And there’s no licensing fees. Just “consumption fees” which, at my first glance, seem pretty reasonable. (“Consumption” meaning consuming processor cycles, or storage, or bandwidth).

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AOL Reveals Top Searches for 2005

AOL Search today announced the year’s top searches based on the topics that received the highest volume of online queries on, the portal and the AOL service during 2005.

“Millions of people search online through AOL Search for a wide spectrum of things, but there are those terms that are looked-up more frequently than others,�? said Jim Riesenbach, senior vice president of AOL Search and Directional Media. “From news and people that grab attention to popular products and common queries, the most searched for topics online during 2005 are a reflection of what was top of mind or what people wanted to find more information about.”

Yahoo Answers Rated “M” for Mature

Don’t quite think they expected this at Yahoo HQ, but a number of the answers appearing on Yahoo’s new community-driven search engine are a little too raunchy, according to eWeek.

“What is the best position for sex?” The most prominently displayed answer begins “The reverse cowgirl” then goes onto describe an elaborate sexual ballet. Another entry asks “Where Is Dick?” and the answers oblige with many crude sexual suggestions.

Anyone there come-up with a better answer to “The meaning of life”, than “42”? ;-)

Could Microsoft Pay Search Engine Users? Maybe Search Marketing Firms?

The WSJ latches-on to a comment by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates where he suggests the company is considering paying searchers to use MSN Search.

“We’ll actually go to users and say instead of us keeping all that ad revenue, we’ll actually share some of it back with the user,” said Mr. Gates, according to a transcript supplied by Microsoft. “The user essentially will get paid, either money or free content or software things that they wouldn’t get if they didn’t use that search engine.”

Might we also see Microsoft paying commission to SEM firms? Having discussed Microsoft’s potential agency relations with senior execs, I highly expect Microsoft to offer a revenue-share/agency discount to search marketing firms.

Yahoo Offers Movable Type for Bloggers

eWeek has details of a new partnership between Yahoo Web Hosting and Movable Type.

Yahoo will effectively act as the preferred provider of Movable Type for small business users…

…provides customers with a unique Web address, blogging tools and business-class e-mail services with spam and virus protections for less than $12 a month.

From the release:

“Blogging is quickly moving into the mainstream as companies grow their businesses by using blogs for marketing purposes, for internal workgroups and even for content management,� said Anil Dash, Six Apart’s vice president of professional products. “By partnering with Yahoo! and customizing Movable Type specifically for their environment, we have created the best Movable Type experience on the web. Professionals now have an easy way to install, customize and expand their Movable Type weblogs, all hosted and managed by the recognized leader in website and blog hosting.�

Newsweek Does SEO

Brad Stone of Newsweek takes a look at the SEO industry and in particular “white hat” and “black hat” practitioners.