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2010 is a officially one week old. By Internet-time standards it feels like a month has passed. Only eight days into the new year and the foundations of a new Net have already been poured, smoothed and hardened. Looking forward to new ways of accessing the Web, we know that eight or nine months from now the landscape we perceive will be very different than it is today.
A full generation has grown up digital. For the twenty-somethings of today, there is no “new technology” involved in mobile computing. Like Postman’s toaster, it has always been thus and is only getting better. There really is no “adoption” of new technologies or techniques among this cohort. Adaption has been the way of the 20-somethings for as long as they can remember, which is of course, forever. The earliest of this generation are rounding the corner on 30. Their time has come and they are driving transformation.
In the good ol’ days of the ’80s, style makers drove transformation for the hipsters. Today, geeks are hip and true geeks don’t require the services of style makers.
The most important transformation, the move from large computing devices to hand-held devices is already taking place. A number of factors allow us to access the full spectrum of the Web from anywhere one can get a 3G signal.
Cloud storage puts our personal data beyond the realm of the transportable and into the realm of the ethereal. Cloud computing gives us the ability to make that data functional with software running on a server separate from the access device. These innovations allow portable devices to grow smaller yet more powerful.
The next factor in this transformation comes from the wisdom of the technorati, the digital elite. If Internet intellectuals learned one lesson in the last decade it was this: “The masses control the content. Let them.” One of the reasons the iPhone is so successful is it is so damn useful. The main reason it is so damn useful is the thousands of applications created by the masses themselves that allow individual users to trick-out their devices to best suit their needs. A great product which is able to allow its users to make it infinitely greater at zero expense to the manufacturer. Everyone is special and everyone wins! Such a model could never work in that backwater of industrial manufacturing known as GM.
Mobile devices are now virtual Swiss Army knives. The introduction of the iPhone was the spark of a revolutionary series of innovations which resulted in this week’s unveiling of the great game-changer, the Google Phone.
The first decade of the 21st century was very very good for Google. The second decade looks to be even better. If Google plays its cards right, it could unquestionably dominate digital communications in a couple of years. The Google Phone really is that important to them.
Google has nearly perfected cloud computing for office productivity and personal use. While products like Google Wave and Google Docs appear to have a long way to go to meet the functionality and versatility of Microsoft’s Office suite, those shortcomings will be made up for in convenience while latent bugs are being squashed by super-genius technologists. Able to run the full range of Google productivity products with highly subsidized services, the G-Phone will likely replace the iPhone as the dominant mobile device over the coming couple years.
Apple, while threatened, doesn’t really need to worry too much about Google. In Apple’s two way race mentality, Google merely replaces Microsoft as dominant competitor. Apple is expected to release a Tablet Computing device by the end of January. Like the iPhone before it, this Tablet is thought to be a game-changer. More on that when it is unveiled.
Microsoft seems intent on addressing the bigbox devices. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft’s anticipated Windows 7 for mobile was a no-show. They did score a huge win with Xbox applications but Xbox is not terribly portable and certainly not designed for business. The closest Microsoft gets in credibly addressing portable computing is their collaboration with HP on a “Slate” computer running Windows7 which CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated during his keynote on Wednesday.
Everything is about to get a lot more personal, especially in marketing. The thing to understand about mobile access and cloud computing is that the service providers know a lot more about individual users than traditional ISPs do. Digital marketing is going to be so heavily influenced by personal choices, the only true measurement of success will be based on performance, not placement. It’s about to become even more about driving relevant traffic in the hopes of making conversions.
The online marketing world is going to undergo fundamental changes as both advertising and query responses become more personalized. An interesting area to watch will be brand based advertising and marketing. While large brands have enormous ad-budgets, those budgets have tended to be focused through fewer hands. That tendency shifted somewhat during the age of search placement marketing but, as consumers are accessing information from smaller, more focused devices, the focus of larger networks such as Google and Yahoo! are sighted on large brands.
For traditional SEO shops, that means reinvention or, more appropriately, adaptation. Savvy search marketers began shifting their focus before 2008 from strictly offering SEO and PPC services to presenting suites of services, “wholistic” digital marketing. This is the year such efforts will pay off as terrestrial advertisers continue to cross into the digital stream.
2010 feels good to write. 2009 is a collection of numbers holding way to much distasteful baggage to be written without a foul feeling on one’s fingers. 2010 feels fresh, new, invigorated and expansive. A new frontier opens with all massive changes. This week, we saw the first face of that new frontier with more known to be coming in weeks. Frontiers offer opportunity and unbridled hope along with innumerable challenges. There is never any certainty when writing about the future however in 2010 one prediction is certainly a foregone conclusion. 2010 is the year we change the way we relate to information. It is going to be interesting.
Real time search results are soon to be a reality for Google as the largest search engine signed a deal with Twitter earlier today.
In an update to the Google Blog, Google VP of Search Products and User Experience Marissa Mayer confirmed a deal has been struck between the search engine and Twitter.
Given this new type of information and its value to search, we are very excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results. We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months. That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you’ll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information.
from: RT @google: Tweets and updates and search, oh my!
While no dollar figure was announced, a search deal with Google propels Twitter far further than a similar deal with Bing that was struck last month.
For Google, the inclusion of real time search results in their stream removes a minor but still significant threat from Microsoft by eliminating one of the few obvious differentiators between the two search engines.
Last month, Twitter announced it had closed a deal for $100million in venture capital funds, pushing its valuation over the $1billion mark. With the completion of the Google search deal, Twitter has fully established its grip as the most immediate and powerful social media tool. Expect Twitter results to show up in SERPs within days.
The person who first sounded public alarm bells at Yahoo!, former Sr. Vice President Brad Garlinghouse, was recently hired by AOL as President of Internet and Mobile Communications. Answerable to CEO Tim Armstrong, Garlinghouse enters AOL in what appears to be a resurgent period for the once (and future?) Internet powerhouse.
Tapped to head AOL’s team in Mountain View, Garlinghouse will immediately take over AOL’s popular instant messenger application and email system. He will also head up the west coast offices of AOL Ventures, the venture capital division of AOL.
Garlinghouse was the author of the November 2006 memo, The Peanut Butter Manifesto. Conveniently leaked to the Wall St. Journal around the same time it was mass forwarded throughout Yahoo!’s then enormous executive team, the Peanut Butter Manifesto marked the beginning of this long and depressive phase of Yahoo!’s corporate history.
When publicly published, the Peanut Butter Manifesto caused a wave of analysis of Yahoo!’s business, direction and planning. The memo identified three specific problems Yahoo! faced as a conglomerate type of corporation.
1/ “We lack a focused, cohesive vision for our company.
I’ve heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world. The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular.
I hate peanut butter. We all should.”
2/ “We lack clarity of ownership and accountability.
The most painful manifestation of this is the massive redundancy that exists throughout the organization. We now operate in an organizational structure — admittedly created with the best of intentions — that has become overly bureaucratic. For far too many employees, there is another person with dramatically similar and overlapping responsibilities. This slows us down and burdens the company with unnecessary costs.”
3/ “We lack decisiveness.
Combine a lack of focus with unclear ownership, and the result is that decisions are either not made or are made when it is already too late. Without a clear and focused vision, and without complete clarity of ownership, we lack a macro perspective to guide our decisions and visibility into who should make those decisions. We are repeatedly stymied by challenging and hairy decisions. We are held hostage by our analysis paralysis.”
The memo went on to suggest several cures to Garlinghouse’s dire prognosis. Unfortunately, the only point that appeared to stick was the one calling for “… a radical reorganization”. Yahoo! experienced several re-orgs in the 2.5 years following the leak of the memo. History shows, those re-orgs did not work.
Garlinghouse’s manifesto ended on an upbeat note which could easily apply to his new position as it did to his former one.
We may have fallen down, but the race is a marathon and not a sprint. I don’t pretend that this will be easy. It will take courage, conviction, insight and tremendous commitment. I very much look forward to the challenge.
So let’s get back up.
Catch the balls.
And stop eating peanut butter.
Best of luck to him in his new (AOL) Venture(s).
After a hectic week comprised mainly of editing the background noise of the SES trade show down to a dull roar, our engineers have finished a first batch of interviews from Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2009.
Usability Testing discussion with UserTesting.com founder Darrell Benatar, who explains how his web-based user testing tool enables businesses to test users remotely, with results in as little as an hour.
SEO Expert Steve Wiideman
Steve Wiideman of LocalSplash discusses changes in the local search industry and how can businesses plan ahead, plus he explains how owns the top spot in Google for seo expert.
Technology Platform Search Marketers Cant Live Without
Adam Goldberg a former Google Insider and Co-Founder of Clear Saleing, discusses winning a Coveted Search Engine Watch Award at Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2009 on Technology Platform Search Marketers Canâ€™t Live Without.
Leapfish Universal Search
Mark Kithcart, Director of Marketing for Leapfish.com, a universal search engine that captures the variety of the Web, discusses what users can expect when they reach their home page and their plans for the future.
AdReady Online Display Advertising
Justin Baker, Director of Marketing for AdReady tells us about their online display advertising product and the problems AdReady tries to solve? their customers and what are the most compelling trends shaping the marketplace today.
Rough Year in Search
Bill Leake of Apogee Search tells us about the upsides and downsides of search that they have encountered in 2009, and how they have they have maintained their search campaigns with their clients.
It has been an intense two days for the staff and show hosts at WebmasterRadio.FM. Somewhere around 6pm Eastern we learned that the MSFT/YHOO rumors we had been hearing all afternoon were in fact true and that a major announcement was to be issued early Thursday morning. A leisurely summer’s afternoon had suddenly turned into a frantic 36-hours of news gathering, phone calls and show planning.
Here is a run-down of WebmasterRadio.FM shows and posts covering the Bing – Yahoo Search deal.
We worked quickly to get a special presentation together and by 9pm, we went live-to-air with a Bing/Yahoo analysis panel made up of Sarah Lacy from BusinessWeek & TechCrunch, Disa Johnson and Jim Hedger, which was moderated by Daron Babin. –> “Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal Imminent”
Thursday morning, Yahoo and Microsoft CEOs Carol Bartz and Steve Ballmer held a joint press conference at 5:45am Pacific announcing the details of the Microsoft Bing / Yahoo Search deal. After hearing the details, I wrote a blog post, “The Benefits of BingYa!” as a short examination of who in our industry most benefits from the deal.
Thursday afternoon, WebmasterRadio.FM shows Webcology and Office Hours with Vanessa Fox covered the deal.
Webcology (2PM): “The Benefits of BingYa!-The Microsoft Yahoo Search Deal”
Office Hours with Vanessa Fox (3PM): “Yahoo Microsoft Deal Effect on Owners, Developers and SEOs”
To cap our coverage of the Bing – Yahoo thing, the original pioneer of search coverage, Danny Sullivan and Marshall Sponder from the New York Times dedicated nearly 90-minutes to a special edition of Danny’s popular Searchcast on WebmasterRadio.FM –> “Understanding the Microsoft Bing and Yahoo Search Deal”
That’s a lot of coverage in what amounts to a 36-hour period. Special thanks to everyone involved. We will continue following this story as it develops.
The mythical beast named Microhoo is no more! A very real one named BingYa! (also known as The Panama Bing Thing) has emerged in a stunning but logical agreement.
A deal has been struck between Yahoo! and Microsoft that, if allowed by Federal regulators, will immediately transform the search and online advertising landscape as we know it.
In the broadest strokes, (the actual deal is to be announced tomorrow), Bing will provide organic search results to the Yahoo! network. This will give Bing a nearly 30% share of search results served while giving Yahoo! a far larger inventory of search results to serve ads against.
Yahoo! will eventually take over Bing’s ad-inventory however that phase could take several years as literally millions of existing relationships, synergies and deals need to first be renewed, renegotiated or in some cases, undone.
Before anything past a major announcement happens, several regulatory hurdles will have to be crossed. This deal has a far better chance of actually happening than Google’s bid for Yahoo! last year did because it creates rather than stifles online advertising competition.
If these are the general broadstrokes of the agreement, a number of questions remain.
An announcement is expected early tomorrow. We’ll bring you full details as they emerge.
Google hosted its second annual Searchology Day at the Googleplex campus in Mountain View California Tuesday. Google used the event to introduce a number of innovations to the world’s most popular search engine.
The first innovation, which is to be released via Google Labs later this week, is called Google Squared. The feature is designed to extract a greater amount of topical information about a website and present it to search users in the grid format of a spreadsheet. Two examples used by VP for search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer outlined how Google Squared might work.
A user could type “Science Fiction TV Shows” and receive a multi-columned table containing information about release dates, actors, directors, story plots, and the networks which carry science fiction content. Similarly, a user might type, “Small Dogs” and receive another list of information detailing different breeds, typical traits such as average weight and height, behavior patterns, and images of different types of small breed dog. Results served by Google Squared could then be saved and shared with other users.
Another feature unveiled at the Searchology event is being called Google Snippets. Snippets will be of interest to search engine marketers as the feature enables extra bits of information to search results such as short reviews, price ranges and user-ratings to be added to search results. For instance, a search for a restaurant might return a review page from a service such as Yelp. If those reviews contain information about the restaurant being researched, elements from those reviews might be included below the link to the restaurant in question.
A third feature called Search Options has the potential to provide far more work for search marketers and web developers. Search Options will create a small below a search result listing other file types associated with that result. For instance, if there is video, blog posts or comments or images associated with the search result, they will be listed under Search Options. The Search Options feature also allows search users to refine their search request by date, incorporating one of Google’s most useful advanced search tools. When a searcher selects one of the search refinement options the overall search results they see will change to incorporate their selection.
The last tool Google announced yesterday is an iPhone application that uses GPS to help guide stargazers seeking their favorite constellations called Google Sky Map for Android. As the user moves their iPhone, the star map changes to account for the direction the phone is facing. The most interesting aspect of this application is Google’s use of GPS coordinates to direct the user towards an object.
More information about the Searchology event can be found on the Official Google Blog.
“Thump!” That’s the sound of yet another shoe falling…
A report in this morning’s WebProNews suggests that over 50% of online retailers were scaling back their search marketing spend in favor of social media and email marketing.
The findings come from a Forrester Research study commissioned by Shop.org. Of 117 online retailers contacted in the study, nearly 33% said they would be cutting back on their marketing budgets and just over 50% said they would cut spending on search engine marketing campaigns.
Digital retailers are not stopping their online spend entirely however. The study goes on to note that some of that money will be refocused on social media and email marketing, targeting consumers who state preferences through action or association.
One underlying fact informing the study is that consumers are increasingly receiving information via the Internet. While many retailers are being forced to cut marketing budgets out of necessity, others are taking advantage of their competitors’ weakness by increasing spend on marketing directed towards current customers and targeted towards social communities.
The results of the study leave a lot of room for speculation on the directions online ad spend will take in the future. In the study, search appears to include both PPC and Organic results. Savvy online marketers know that organic search results drives more traffic than paid results do though PPC draws far more ad-spend than SEO does.
Similarly, an indication of increased spend on social marketing might really be an indication that online advertisers want to drive messages directly to current customers instead of winning over new consumers. Despite years of promises of strictly targeted advertising, online marketing remains predominantly a shotgun style of advertising based on search users requesting information rather than that information being automatically served to those known to be interested in a specific product or service.
It should also be noted that surveys record yesterday’s impressions and make them today’s news. The global economy is in a highly dynamic state right now though it continues to appear and feel somewhat stagnant for retailers and consumers. Everyone harbors fear for the survival of their employers or their operations and in such an environment, decision makers appear to be making increasingly dramatic choices. Those choices, when expressed via survey results tend to create a feedback loop that may or may not give an accurate accounting of today’s thinking.
That thought aside, the Shop.org study shows online retailers are seeking far better results for their online ad dollars. If spend does shift towards social media, a far larger market opens for members of the search marketing community though that market will involve psychology as much as it involves technology. The most important take away from these findings is simple. Digital marketers must work far harder to engage online consumers if they wish to keep the ad-spend flowing.
As most readers and listeners already know, WebmasterRadio.FM has partnered with AffSpot Forums and Ticonderoga Ventures to produce a new conference series known as Affiliate Convention. We’ve been busy the last few weeks getting the details together and honing the line-up for the Convention which takes place June 17 – 20 in Denver.
Because each of us at WebmasterRadio.FM and our partners have all been working webmasters at one time or another (many of us still are), we deeply value the efforts webmasters put in each and every day. In the affiliate marketing world, webmasters are the workers and we appreciate how hard that work is. To that end, any affiliate marketer who can prove their affiliation with a major network will receive free admission to the event.
Affiliate Convention Contest
One lucky registrant will receive a bit more than that. Anyone who registers for Affiliate Convention before May 15th (that’s a week from Friday), will automatically be entered into a draw for free round-trip airfare and accommodation at the conference hotel, courtesy of WebmasterRadio.FM and our Affiliate Convention partners.
Registration is fairly easy and the cost of admission is even easier. We’re still adding to the list of speakers and finalizing details of one of our legendary WebmasterRadio.FM parties to be held on June 18th. Watch the Affiliate Convention website for more details as they develop.