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Music lyrics lead online search terms

This indicates swings in surfers' interests, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Jan 04, 2006 17:17 IST

Top search terms are an indication of the swings in surfers' interests, I reckon. With an estimated 63% of the US online population doing at least one daily search (according to Pew Internet & American Life Project, 20-11-2005) searches are providing deep insight into the Americans' collective interests. Gaming terms, celebrities and musicians round out the most popular search terms of the year. Recently, Dogpile.com, the metasearch engine that returns top results from all the leading search engines, announced its most popular Internet search terms of 2005, with 'music lyrics' leading the hit parade. At No.2 is 'Paris Hilton' who leads the celebrities' pack as well. 'Google', 'eBay' and 'Yahoo' are on the next three rungs. "By aggregating and ranking the millions of monthly searches on Dogpile, we can provide perspective on the interests of today's online audience," Jon Nolz, Director of Marketing for Dogpile.com points out. "Seeing 'music lyrics' in the number one position is surprising given the number of huge headline news events over the year, but points to what online search is all about - finding information that does not have a readily-known source." home.businesswire.com.

MAKING INDIA A MANUFACTURING BASE. 'When?' is the vital question.

Infrastructure ("erratic electricity supplies, poor roads, and gridlocked seaports and airports") and government regulations are cited as the two main stumbling blocks to making India a manufaturing base despite her low-cost skilled labour's magnetic pull. "Multinationals considering India as a manufacturing base should focus on skill-intensive industries to take advantage of the country's abundant supply of well-qualified engineers. Companies that make the effort now to source and manufacture products in India may obtain first-mover advantages such as close relations with the best suppliers, access to the best talent, and government support," advises The McKinsey Quarterly sagely ('When to make India a manufacturing base'). mckinseyquarterly.com.

LINKING SURFERS AND SELLERS. Google's click-to-call (no need to dial).

Google's new click-to-call service a "connect for free" button allows surfers to speak directly over the regular phone lines with advertisers on its search results page without having to pick up and dial the phone. The specifics of the technology used remain a Google trade secret. "We won't share your telephone number with anyone, including the advertiser," promises the FAQ. "Allowing customers to reach advertisers through the computer could increase the value of online ads, particularly for companies like Google, which reaps nearly all of its revenue from advertising," writes Elinor Mills ('Hello, this is Google, your operator, speaking'). techrepublic.com.

NIELSEN'S DIFFICULT ADVICE. Be simple and smooth.

Musing about the import of 1 billion new Web users in the next 10 years, Nielsen issues a stern warning to Web-commerce business operators: "Users are not like you." "Some time this year, we quietly passed a dramatic milestone: the one billionth user went online," he writes. In the absence of a central registry of Web users, he argues: "Statistically, we're likely talking about a 24-year-old woman in Shanghai." Today's Internet is diversified ("36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers - one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto - were networked together"), "and has moved far beyond the elite in Silicon Valley and other global technology hubs. Selling to the 200 million early adopters was easy. The 800 million mainstream users who are now starting to shop need much smoother sites; the next billion will require even higher usability levels."
According to Nielsen, China and India will be the largest markets for Internet growth. "US market share and Silicon valley buzz will be less important than international use as a metric for judging the potential of companies and technologies." He sums up by saying that two-thirds of Internet revenues will come from countries other than the U.S. useit.com.

INSIDE BLOGOSPHERE. Who belongs? Who doesn't?

True, bloggers have hurt a number of companies. It's time, though, to think of the blog as your friend. Skillful blogging can boost your company's credibility and help it connect with customers. This in brief is the takeaway of 'Does Your Company Belong in the Blogosphere?' by Katherine Heires, principal of MediaKat LLC and a New York City- based business and technology writer. Some of the quotes from the executives of the businesses studied are worth quoting. For instance: (1) "If your legal department requires three weeks' review time before you turn around a posting for your blog, you are not a good candidate for blogging," cautions Pete Blackshaw of Intelliseek, a marketing intelligence firm. (2) "Don't let the PR department write your blog. Bloggers will sniff it out, and when they do, you will lose all credibility," says Debbie Weil (BlogWrite for CEOs) who cites General Motors' VC Lutz's writing style ("genuine, conversational, and engaging, and whose blog - like the best executive-written blogs - eschews corporate-speak"). (3) "Blogs allow us to get our message out to the world in a direct, unmediated, and unfiltered way," points out Tim Bray of Sun Microsystems. hbswk.hbs.edu. QuiteATake.com last covered business blogs here: hindustantimes.com('TRUE OR FALSE? 89% corporates blogging just now.')

ON PAR? Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica?

The recent problems faced by Wikipedia, "the free, open-access encyclopedia" were covered in this column here: hindustantimes.com('WICKI'S WICKED, WICKED WAYS. Two scandals in a row.') A study published mid-December in the journal Nature claims that it is "about as good a source of accurate information as the Encyclopedia Britannica, the venerable standard-bearer of facts about the world around us". The journal commented as follows about its 'expert' study: "An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature - the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science, suggests that such high-profile examples [such as the Seigenthaler and Curry situations] are the exception rather than the rule." Reports Daniel Terdiman ('Wikipedia vs Encyclopedia Britannica: An equal match?') "In the end, the journal found just eight serious errors, such as general misunderstandings of vital concepts, in the articles. Of those, four came from each site. They did, however, discover a series of factual errors, omissions or misleading statements. All told, Wikipedia had 162 such problems, while Britannica had 123. That averages out to 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia. networks.silicon.com. That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place. That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

E-MAIL RULES AMERICA. It's omnipresent, says a new study.

Like the telephone before it, e-mail has become a part and parcel of the American consumer's professional and personal life. This is the not-so-surprising conclusion reached by a major new study by DoubleClick. The Sixth Annual Consumer Email Study says that "not only have consumers become increasingly reliant on e-mail, they have become more sophisticated in its use and more comfortable with marketers leveraging data to communicate with them". 70% of all e-mail is still considered spam. More importantly, the study finds consumers to be somewhat less concerned about spam because they are discovering strategies to deal with the inbox deluge. Interestingly enough, 51%, 44%, 41%, 33% and 31% of the respondents would like e-mail to replace telemarketing, in-person sales calls, direct mail, retail offers and coupons and bills and statements respectively (multiple replies). emarketer.com.

Let me wish you a very happy New Year before closing. To add cheer to each and every day of it, I point you to User Friendly resident at userfriendly.orgwhere you can view a comic strip that will tickle the funny bone of anyone who deals with ungovernable technology. The one for December 30 for instance pithily sums up the highlights of 2005 ("Google launches tons of betas. The EU stomps Microsoft. Firefox jumps in market share. Blogging raised the journalism bar.") Kinda cute, huh?

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2005 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at asiaondemand.com. Website: http://www.addgandhi.com/original/. You may e-mail him at dmankar@bom8.vsnl.net.in.

First Published: Dec 31, 2005 00:00 IST