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November 26, 2006

Speculation: PR Newswire To Get Bid From Apax

By Li Evans

Pr_newswire_logo Rafat Ali at PaidContent.org has an article speculating the PR Newswire is about to get a billion dollar bid from Apax.  Apax is the company that acquired Incisive Media (who runs the Search Engine Strategies conferences) and took them from public to a private company.  Currently PR Newswire is owned by by UK-based B2B firm United Business Media (UBM).

I marked this headline as speculation, as right now, although it was reported in the UK Sunday Times, UBM is keeping tight lipped on this "rumor" and telling Reuters "there are currently no discussions."  Prweb_logo This is definitely something Public Relations professionals should be keeping an eye on, especially after the recent (August 2006) acquisition of PRWeb by Vocus.  The area of press releases and the web is about to become a pretty interesting place.

Google Settles With 2 Belgium Media Groups

By Li Evans

Googlenewsbelgium Over the holiday weekend here in the states, the rest of the world business and courts churned, including Belgium.  Google didn't rest on its laurels either, in fact news first broken by Bloomberg and updated 4 times since originally breaking cam on Friday 11/24/06.

Google was also in court appealing the ruling back in September against them using Belgium news sources without permission in its Belgium news portal.  Friday's news now excludes the Belgium groups Sofam (who represent photographers) and Scam (who represent journalists) from the case.  A ruling on the case is expected sometime in January 2007.

Meanwhile, the Danes are still without Google news as Google put that version on hold because of the Danes wanting and "opt in" option, rather than the standard robots.txt file.

Others that are commenting on this news:

Past Related Articles:

Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review: J.C. Penney #118 (JCP)

By Li Evans

Jcplogo J.C. Penney, famous for its catalogs and as one of today's leading retailers both in brick & mortar stores and with their online retail website, is up next in my list of Fortune 500 companies to research for the Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review.  James Cash Penney started the business out in 1902 and it has grown into one of today's most recognized businesses by name alone.

No Corporate Blogs
Although they have an extensive investor relations section, complete with a searchable news release section, no corporate facing blogs could be found on the website.  A search of Technorati, Google, Ask, Yahoo and Live all turned up nothing in the way of an "Official JC Penney" blog - marketing or otherwise.

A search for the CEO and Chairman of the Board, Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, failed to turn up any blogs written by him as well.  JC Penney has a rather large corporate structure with a lot of different VPs, directors and other management people, so it is possible one of these people has a blog, but I do not believe they relate it to JC Penney - otherwise they would have come up.

Technoratijcpenney The buzz around JC Penney is pretty low key, other than for certain key times.  Blog post mentions go up around the time corporate earnings are released and also around Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.  There is a little written about Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III as well, but the generally people are blogging about their experiences of purchasing things from JC Penney.

Marketing wise, JC Penney could utilize a blog to promote its recent venture with Sephora that started back in April of 2006.  It could help them with establishing the name recognition and link the two brands more soundly.  Right now, it does not seem to  be promoted online that well and a person coming to the JCP site could be confused as to why they see a "Sephora" tab within the navigation. 

Jcpenneysephora They could also explain some of their marketing attempts as well - the image inset here is their promotion on the Sephora page.  Now, I really hate to speak for all women - but looking like a circus clown is really not a goal I want to attain with my makeup, so this marketing piece is really just an immediate turn off.  It leaves me wondering - "Why?" - perhaps a blog on tips and trends in beauty and cross promote its venture with Sephora in this way.

November 25, 2006

Saturday Morning Experiments

By Li Evans

I'm catching up on all my reading I've missed the last couple of days before all the festivities here in D.C. start and I saw two experiments that have caught my eye that I'd thought I'd pass along to those who are reading over the holiday weekend.Alexalogo

November 24, 2006

Best Buy & The Novice Black Friday Shopper

By Li Evans

Bestbuy A few weeks ago, the Best Buy Black Friday Ad "accidentally" leaked onto the Internet, I know because I saw it when it first appeared on Gizmodo.  Best Buy quickly reacted by using the DCMA and the ads were pulled down from the various websites displaying it.

I can tell you - I was psyched.  I was looking for a computer for my parents, and they had a complete E-Machines package for $189.95.  I live 12 miles from the border of Delaware, so I had plans of heading to the Best Buy in Delaware so I didn't have to pay the 6% state tax in PA.  I planned on getting there for when the store opened at 5 a.m.

Now, keep in mind - I'm a NOVICE Black Friday shopper.  I despise crowds of people because I'm claustrophobic, and I've done 95% of all my Holiday Shopping on the Internet for at least the past 5 years.  Unfortunately this deal was only in-store.  I hate in-store only deals, I'd gladly have paid the shipping & handling -or- purchase online and then pick up later to avoid the crowds.

Bestbuyshoppingfrenzy I found out how "novice" I was when I arrived at 4:55 a.m. this morning to find a huge line of cars waiting to get into the Best Buy parking lot.  Then probably the longest line I've ever seen, outside of getting tickets to see Garth Brooks back in 1996.  It stretch for what seemed like forever.  They even had state troopers there to help them control the crowd and it looked like people camped out there for quite a while.  Left behind & broken chairs, blankets and "WaWa" coffee cups were littered everywhere.

It was at the point of fruitlessly getting in line that I realized, that I'd likely not be getting the computer or even the digital video camera I was considering.  Upon entering the store, I knew immediately this was a useless endeavor.  It was literally a mad house and all those jokes about putting on hockey gear to shop - you needed it there. 

I know that stores want to do this to bring in the customers and to get them to buy something else.  They do take a big hit on margins with these insane deals, and hope to make it up with ad ons of accessories and warranties.  That's the way it works. 

Bestbuystore However, I know I saw at least 100 people walking out in total disgust with nothing in their hands, muttering how annoyed they were with Best Buy.  I do know if they hadn't sold out of the computer I wanted and the video camcorder - they would have made more sales from me.  Instead, they just totally annoyed me and gave me a very negative opinion of Best Buy - along with reaffirming my goal this year I made before I saw that ad - to buy ALL of my Christmas gifts online.

I can tell you now, it'll be a long while before I go back to Best Buy or order from them online.  I was one of those customers Best Buy craves - a repeat who went to them first to buy electronics & accessories over their competitors.  I wonder if having this sale will be worth the bad worth of mouth that will be spreading like wildfire, and loosing their "favored" customers.

Next year.... If I even mutter anything related to going out on Black Friday shopping, just whisper "Best Buy" in my ear and I'll get set straight. Now... off to D.C.! ;)

November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

By Li Evans

Turkey_cartoon Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (aka Turkey Day) here in the states, and Friday is "Black Friday" the traditional day that starts Christmas/Holiday shopping.  We here at Search Marketing Gurus would like to extend wishes to you and yours for a happy Thanksgiving - and we THANK YOU for your continued readership, as tomorrow is SMG's 6 month mark!

Chris Hooley & myself will be off and posting on SMG will likely be scarce - I'm off to D.C. to my annual "Friendsgiving" - a great event that started off as a bunch of internet friends together and now has just blossomed into a wonderful time among internet and non-internet folks.  After 7 years its grown a lot! Chris is in Arizona and will likely enjoy a warmer turkey day than me here on the east coast.

We'll be back to regular posting again on "Ciber Monday", but don't be surprised if you see a post or two come, we're never far from a computer!

November 21, 2006

The New Enquiro Eye Tracking Report

By Li Evans

Enquirogoldentriangle Enquiro is a company that's most notable for two things, first it's Eye Tracking Study(July 2005) that defined Google's Golden Triangle, and second for it's very personable and generous CEO, Gord Hotchkiss.   Gord has a great passion for this industry and it shows through his interaction with other industry professionals.  If you didn't know, Gord's also the current chairperson of SEMPO.

So with that background, it's noteworthy in our industry that Enquiro has updated it's now a million times over referred to "Golden Triangle" or "Eye Tracking" or "Heat Map" Report.  The new white paper is available for purchase on the site, and I have no doubt that this is worth every penny to Search Marketers across the globe.

You can download a preview of the white paper, but honestly, it will just leave you salivating for more information.  You'll be clamoring for your marketing vp or director of online services to download this whitepaper.  Why?  How about some these points:

  • Eye-tracking across three engines: Google, Yahoo & Microsoft
  • Analysis between Natural Search listings & Paid Search Listing across all three engines
  • Information Scent
  • Banner Blindness
  • Perceived Relevancy
  • Pogo Sticking

I wrote about "Pogo Sticking" and "Sticky Pages"  back in September. Gordhotchkiss_1I actually had a question about this type of action and Gord was the only person I knew that might have an inkling of where to find the information I needed.  Gord graciously helped me out (for which I still owe him dinner!), and I have since become very interested in "Pogo Sticking."  He later wrote an article for Search Engine Guide about all of this, which I'm sure that some of that information made its way into the white paper.

So, go and download the sample version for free and then go fill out that purchase order and get this white paper now!

Trillian Astra On The Horizon - Check Out the Sneak Preview

By Li Evans

Trillianastra Slight diversion from Internet Marketing, but news worthy to pass along.  For those of you who are avid instant messengers, and have 5 or 6 different programs running and don't know about Trillian, perhaps you should check out the current version at Cerulean Studios first.  For those of us who have Trillian  - check out the sneak preview of the new Trillian Astra, and the accompanying write up at the DownloadSquad Blog.

As a true IM geek (I actually have an ICQ number that's 6 digits) that even goes back to the days of PowWow, finding Trillian was at first tough.  I didn't like it the first time around, but then they fixed a bunch of things and the version that's been out for a few years now is just great.  Its a true testament to Cerulean Studios that so many people are still using this program to support their IM'ing across several platforms.

I'm excited about this new version coming.  It will actually have support for the new MySpace IM, Google Talk and they split apart AOL and ICQ (although that's never been an issue I've had directly).  The new version is going to have Social Networking, Widgets & Bookmarking features as well.

Ceruleanstudioslogo_1 Cerulean Studios even has a blog to keep up on when the when the latest builds will be released.  As I find out more I'll post about it.  As I know more than a few of you Internet Marketing folks use Trillian, I even hear that familiar "doorbell" sound on phone calls & podcasts. ;)

Google Bombing For a Good Cause

By Li Evans

I first saw this on Robert Scoble's blog late last night and then I just read Nathan Weinberg's blog and saw it there, after seeing it twice I investigated a little further.  It seems a racist website has a top billing on Google (complete with sitelinks!) for keywords related to Martin Luther King, Jr.  Chalk full of inaccuracies and hate, its really not a "true authority" on Martin Luther Kin Jr.

Tuttlesvc This is actually one of those times when looking at the SERPs once and a while and really gaging if your top authority is correct and fixing the errors that occur would be a GOOD thing.  Matt Cutts - if your listening go read Tuttle SVC to get the full information.

Here's my contribution!

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King

November 20, 2006

ComScore Announces October Market Share Numbers for Search

By Li Evans

Comscorelogo ComScore released the market share numbers for the Search Industry today.  Google nudged upwards by .4% and Yahoo by .1%.  Bad news for Microsoft and AOL - both lost market share in October.  Neilsen reported a few weeks ago that for September YTY, both Microsoft and AOL lost market share. 

The ComScore numbers actually are comparing month to month from August to October, and from the looks of the numbers, Microsoft has got a problem, it's consistently loosing market share.


The number of searches done since September is up again, too, with over 6.8 billion searches conducted in October, which is actually a 33% increase over October 2005.  According to ComScore, "Google Sites led the pack with 3.1 billion search queries performed in October, followed by Yahoo Sites (1.9 billion), MSN-Microsoft (796 million), Ask Network (392 million), and Time Warner Network (366 million)."

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