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Xtra/Yahoo NZ back in the Search Hands of Microsoft

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Will it be Binghoo or Yabing?

With the announcement that Microsoft and Yahoo collaborating on search for a 10 year license term, one of the key outcomes is that Yahoo search will now be powered by Bing, the new Microsoft “Decision Engine”

After Xtra ditched MSN and went to Yahoo, Microsoft is back in the fold.

Regulatory issues in the US could mean we won’t see “powered by Bing” at the bottom of our Yahoo results for a couple of years.

So what affect will this have on the search market in New Zealand?

Not much.

It is pretty hard to compete with a competitor has over 90% of the market. The only thing I could see is that they might actually make an effort to increase their share. With each owning less than 5% share, it was even more futile. So now they have a chance, albeit a very slim one.

Microsoft will have access to key Yahoo technologies to make Bing better (Can’t see how this is good for Yahoo in the long run, past the 10 year license) and in Steve Ballmer’s words, reported by Danny Sullivan from the press conference.

Burden on Microsoft to deliver the goods and enable Yahoo to be successful

I think the key issue here is that Microsoft and Yahoo have finally decided that they will only be able to compete with Google when they stop fighting amongst themselves and consolidate their effort against a common enemy. Again as reported by Danny Sullivan:

Carol Bartz, Yahoo CEO: it’s hard to be a long term leader with Microsoft and Google keep stealing your employees

So I expect it will be a drawn out process, no surprise launch like Bing a couple of months back, but it will be an uphill battle for both to finally prevail as the No 1 search engine here and internationally.

Contextual Ads – AC/DC and Hells Angels

After reading an article about patch bans in Wanganui and the legal challenge to that ban by members of the Hells Angels, my eyes caught the contextual ads that were being served up.

Now I am not sure how these ads are served, they are not Adwords, or other obvious PPC ads. They seem to be generated by the INL ad bureau.

What caught my attention was that AD/DC was being advertised on a page mentioning Hells Angels. (I have also seen other ads relating to mens issues, Expedia, IRD, NZArmy, Sky TV and others)

Now, upon looking at the code of the page, the Javascript that runs the ads, states that the keywords that are triggering the ads are: (exact content, non capitalisation included)

  • Hells Angels
  • Wanganui
  • gang patch law 

Now with Ad servers I have worked with, advertisers can choose the keywords they want their ads to be triggered by. It is also possible, that they are just on a site wide rotation.

However, it is interesting to see what keywords and what advertisers are appearing for this kind or article.

If the ads are keyword triggered (which makes sense from a targeting point of view, you don’t waste as much money), what was the keyword that worked?

Was the targeting deliberate or just accidental, if it is deliberate, are they aware of what articles their ads are appearing in?

This issue is common in generic news sites, especially when some keywords can be wildly different (Wanganui vs Hells Angels)

The Growing Use / Influence of Social Networking

As a web professional, I try to look at and investigate new ideas, trends, and concepts that appear in the industry.

Not only because they may work for me, but also so I can give advice on these topics to my clients, coming from some if not much experience.

Take as an example my Facebook and Bebo profiles.

I initially started both up as an exercise to see if either would be beneficial from a business point of view. In the process of doing this I have started to use Facebook, but not Bebo.

This is basically down to two things:

  1. Facebook was best connected to my social network
  2. It seemed to work better

In looking at these two products, I can now talk to my clients about them with some experience.

All advice is clouded by the experiences of the giver, but I believe it is better to have this experience, however small.

The by product of this is that I am now a regular Facebook user, not only for work, but for personal reasons. My wife and I have Bejeweled challenges each week!

So as a web / IT professional, the emergence of these technologies and our need to be aware and somewhat knowledgeable about them does mean we spend time and effort immersing ourselves.

Twitter is another good example. One we cannot ignore due to it’s explosion of popularity. I am now about to do workshops on Web 2.0 and social networking, talking to people about these products, services and the concept of social networking as a business tool.

But here is the crux for me. Twitter became much more usable, effcient and meaningful, not because Twitter is so cool, but because I found a tool (Tweetdeck) that makes it work for me.

Having to refresh my Twitter stream each time I wanted to check, made it more remote and less engaging.

Now, having notfications, means that I am now using Twitter as a real communication tool.

I believe that the emergence of these tools to augment and improve on the great ideas on the net is key to the further success of these concepts.

After looking at the specs for HTML 5, the reliance on client side applications to enhance websites like Twitter looks like to be disappearing, to the point, where HTML 5 may make web apps as interactive and functional as desktop applications are now. (At least that is what Google seems to be heading towards)

What tools do you use to enhance your online experience? What has been a real “key” to getting more out of an existing service?

Leave me a comment and let me know

HTML 5 – The future looks bright

HTML 4 has been around for many years, and it looks like the newest incarnation HTML5 is going to make some serious changes to the way the web works.

Here is a video for those who are interested (it is over an hour long, and targetted at a technical audience, but very informative)

Here are some Highlights:

  • Offline Storage including offline database storage
  • Adding video will be as simple as adding an image to a webpage
  • Forms will be much simpler, yet complete (things like calendars for dates etc)
  • Geolocation API’s so you can get the location of a mobile device via the browser
  • Drag and Drop
  • Better interaction with the Operating System
  • Canvas, being able to generate images dynamically

So there are plenty of cool things coming. Alreadt Google Chrome, Safari and a few other browsers (including iphone and android mobile devices) are already handling HTML5. However, there are not many websites that are written in HTML5 to take advantage of this.

Older versions of Internet Explorer (version 6 and older) won’t work as it is too old and one fight will be getting people to upgrade their browser so they can access these new features

We may be building dual websites for a while!

Internet Explorer 8 Ads – Funny

Well I am not a fan of the Browser, but these ads are pretty good. I have found 4 so far, here is one

S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. – Internet Explorer 8

And another…

F O M S Internet Explorer 8

Can’t remember the last time Microsoft had to advertise IE, must be a Firefox getting near!

A More Sensible Process for Enforcement of Copyright Violations

I posted about the imminent revised copyright law (Section 92a) being published.

I must say that the process put forward does seem to make sense and the threat of disconnection can only be issued for repeat offenders.

While some are still not happy with this being the ultimate punishment, it will mean that there will not be mass disconnections that some are predicting.

Here are the stages:

  1. Complaint made to the ISP of the alleged infringer. ISP notifies the subscriber of the complaint
  2. If further infringing occurs a cease and desist order would be sent to the ISP to pass on to the subscriber
  3. If there is further infringing, the complainant could apply to the Copyright Tribunal to get the contact details of the subscriber.
    (This can then be used by the rights holder to communicate directly with the subscriber)
  4. If this communication is not successful in preventing further infringing, the Copyright Tribunal would convene to hear the case and impose penalties that could include fines or disconnection.

That is a pretty involved process.

Most people who are unwittingly violating copyright, would cease at stage 1, especially if the exact nature of the infringement is spelt out.

For people to get to the latter stages of the process, I would suggest they are either a shared IP with no easily identified source, of someone who does not care about the consequences.

The way the law is used by the right holders will be key as to whether the approach is successful, will we see a mass of complaints about all and sundry sent so the rights holders can assert their influence on the market?

I still think education is important and a agreed set of guidelines are produced to clear up grey areas including Youtube and other sites that can mix legal and illegal items on the same site.

Submissions close at 5pm on Friday 7 August 2009 and may be sent to: copyrightact@med.govt.nz

The Section 92A Review Policy Proposal Document is available at: www.med.govt.nz/section92a

Copyright Law in NZ recommendations due shortly

After the Black Out campaign gained some time for reasoned thought about the new copyright law, the new recommendations are due shortly about it’s implementation.

The previously drafted legislation called for termination of infringer’s internet accounts for repeated copyright violations. This created the Black Out backlash and so now we wait to see how things will be treated this time.

The Creative Freedom Foundation say that disconnection is disproportionate to the crime while interestingly internet access has been claimed an “essential utility” by people in the UK.

InternetNZ also think that disconnection should not be considered.

However, things point to a revised version of the original law with a level of Arbitration to decide on terminations.

I think that a series of warnings and increased fines would be sufficient to deter most people, and termination only avaialble if all other preceding actions have been ignored by the user.

This would alleviate the issue with users being scared of disconnection for unknown violations.

It would also help provide safety for those parents who are unaware of their children’s internet activity.

Any legislation of this kind must also be delivered with some clear definitions of what is infringing content.

What do you do about Youtube? Myspace, Blogs that may have infringing information on it. It would make more sense dealing with the source of the information than the end users.

These things need clarification before any measures are taken to ban them.

Once we have an announcement I will post again on it’s content.

I Love TweetDeck! Best App for Twitter

Twitter is becoming clearer.

Now I have TweetDeck, Twitter becomes a much better experience, I now know when someone I am following has posted something up, and it even allows me to reply from within TweetDeck.

Now the thing with TweetDeck, is that it is a program you install on your PC, think of it like Outlook for Twitter (Though much better and definitely not a Microsoft thing)

I means you do not have to refresh twitter to see what people are saying. It also means you can get notifications when there are new tweets in your stream.

I can see when I have been mentioned (@deepwebdesign) and also a list of my direct messages to other Twitter users.

But the real benefit, it to create groups of users so you can filter out the people you really want to hear from and leave some of the noise behind.

I can’t believe how much it has changed my Twitter experience.

The only downside is that it is a bit memory hungry (over 100mb of user memory when running, written in Adobe AIR)

But overall one of the few apps I am really happy about.

Click here to download TweetDeck

They also have TweetDeck for iPhone

Using Web2.0 to promote Dan Brown’s new book “The Lost Symbol”

Doubleday, the publisher of Dan Brown’s new book has announced that a series of puzzles will be used to promote the new book.

“codes, cryptic trivia, puzzles, secret history, maps, aphorisms”

These will be made available through Twitter and Facebook.

It is an example of the growing influence social media is having on the entertainment industry.

This looks like his Twitter profile, and his Facebook profile is here too.

I might be keeping an eye on these ones, looking forward to the book!