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Numero uno in search loyalty stakes

The Compete study is a good indication of how reliable search engine users find the search engines they use, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Mar 20, 2006 20:19 IST

Just last week inhindustantimes.com I wrote of the latest worry about rampant worldwide click fraud on the Internet. In 'Exclusive Roundtable:12 Search Marketing Experts Answer MarketingSherpa Questions for 2006', however, Roger Barnette, President, SearchIgnite has a contrary view to offer: "I think click fraud is largely overhyped. While it's a legitimate problem for certain advertisers, it's not going to slow down the momentum of search engine marketing." On the other hand, Vincent Granville. CTO Authenticlick and CEO Data Shaping Solutions feels that "Google has improved impression fraud detection - a practice consisting of generating bogus impressions to reduce ad relevancy of your competitors to drive them out of Google - the fraud has spread to Yahoo and MSN." marketingsherpa.com. Meanwhile, there's the news about Google agreeing "to pay up to $90 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the online search engine leader overcharged thousands of advertisers who paid for bogus sales referrals generated through a ruse known as 'click fraud'." Writes Michael Liedtke in 'Google to Pay $90M in "Click Fraud" Case', "The proposed settlement… would apply to all advertisers in Google's network during the past four years. Any Web site showing improper charges dating back to 2002 will be eligible for an account credit [used] toward future ads…" washingtonpost.com.
P.S.: Google's disclosure caused a precipitous fall in its stock price, by the way. Now who said it paid to be honest, for goodness sake?

NUMERO UNO IN SEARCH LOYALTY STAKES. Guess who?

A new study by Boston-based marketing research firm Compete, 'Searching for Loyalty : Why Focusing on Market Share Won't Cut It' examines the search habits of people who have declared themselves 'loyal' to one brand or another portrays search engine users. On the whole they seem to be a fickle bunch. Google has again beaten its competitors, though. The 'Share of Research Activity' (SOSA) scores are: Google (71.0%); Yahoo (48.1%); MSN (27.8%); Excite (23.4%); AOL (23.2% ); Ask (21.6%); AltaVista (16.6%); Clusty (10.3%); A9 (6.4%); and Lycos (5.8% ). It's worth nothing that SOSA is quite distinct from the traditional market share. For instance, Excite, a smaller engine with a web search market share of less than 1 percent enjoys a SOSA of 23 percent. compete.com. The report can be downloaded by registering at compete.com. According to SEO Manager Jim Hedger ('Google Users Display Biggest Brand Loyalty'), the Compete study is "a good indication of how reliable search engine users find the search engines they use. It doesn't necessarily show which engine is better or more relevant but it does show that even the mighty Google has a user-bleed rate." webpronews.com.

WRITE HO! Google's got Writerly.com.

Jen Mazzon, a member of Google's newly acquired Writely Team, posted these rather endearing comment on 9 March 2006 at googleblog.blogspot.com: "The other night, I was talking to my husband about how nervous I was to be starting work there. Truth be told, we've all been pretty overwhelmed for the past few weeks. What could our little team possibly do that's innovative enough? And he said, "Hello? You already did it!" It's true - everyone told us it was crazy to try and give people a way to access their documents from anywhere- not to mention share documents instantly, or collaborate online within their browsers. But that's exactly what we did. And since we launched the Writely beta in August 2005, many thousands of people have registered, and all of them came through word of mouth (and blog)." To find out more about Google's new acquisition, go here: www2.writely.com. Also take a look at techrepublic.com.

SUPER TEENS. A global brohood?

In the 1990s, technology was the stronghold of the US teens. No more, though. A new research study by Energy BBDO, 'GenWorld: The New Generation of Global Teens', deals with a worldwide class of 'SuperConnectors'. 3,322 teens aged 13 to 18 in the summer of 2005 in 13 countries (the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Russia, Poland, China, Taiwan and India) was the sample. It looks like they are "very concerned about the world and their own future. These concerns have made them self activists, creative, and highly adaptable to emerging technologies. The report identifies seven shifts in attitudes and behaviors within this group. It also looks at ways for marketers to approach this group and stay relevant," writes Enid Burns ('Worldwide Teen Generation Dubbed "SuperConnectors".'). Also: "Social networks play a large role with this group. Family communication takes place in-person, though friendships within a teen's network spreads out over the Web and other enabled devices. The same activities may be occurring, but technology expands the capabilities teens have to communicate." Further: "SuperConnectors are resistant to traditional advertising messages. The report does identify ways to speak to them without alienating them. Strategies include contact on their terms, in ways that allow teens to communicate with each other and personalize what they're receiving. Communication should empower the group and provide optimism." clickz.com.

GMAIL USER'S WORRY. Hacker's delight?

14-year-old Anthony accidentally stumbled upon a flaw in Google's Gmail service that allows JavaScript to run, thus opening a window of opportunity to malicious hackers to gather e-mail addresses or compromise an account. The blog post of his 'discovery' is here: ph3rny.blogspot.com. I read some of the 76 comments at last count and find a mix of assenting and dissenting voices responding to Anthony's post. The story, 'Teenager claims to find code flaw in Gmail' by Jeremy Kirk of IDG News Service networkworld.com, cautions: "The supposed flaw may already have been fixed, however." A funny comment by one of Anthony's readers says:: "Google code monkeys work fast". Google's advice to Anthony: "In the interest of minimizing the impact that security vulnerabilities have on our end users, we highly encourage anyone who discovers a vulnerability in a Google product or service to follow responsible disclosure policies by contacting us first at security/at/google/dot/com."

DAVID IN PRINT. Goliath digitally.

A big "Thank you" to Matthew Buckland, for pointing me to Grocott's Mail "world-class, feature-rich", "professionally designed, good looking, and interactive" Digital Edition grocotts.co.za, headed by E-media Tidbits contributor Vince Maher and his team of J-school students - through his 10 March post, 'Small Newspaper, Big Web Site'. poynter.org. "Grocott's Mail is South Africa's oldest independent newspaper, founded in the early 1800s in the small university town of Grahamstown. The community newspaper was recently acquired by the local university's (ru.ac.za) journalism school, making it one of the few commercially-run town newspapers in the world owned and run by a J-school. As a result, the tiny newspaper operation has the resources to build its first Web site," he writes. P.S.: The site content includes video and audio features, citizen journalism "integrated directly into its newsroom workflow" and a "collaborative filtering engine with a graphic visualization that recommends content to readers based on their similarity to other users" on its homepage.

Want to read the world's largest Windows Error Message? Adam Gaffin spotted it on a two-story high e-billboard in Times Square in New York. networkworld.com .

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

Copyright (c) 2001- 2006 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: Mar 20, 2006 20:10 IST