Google Friends Newsletter, Sept 2008
This is a copy of Google's communications newsletter that hightlights what's going on with the company and its latest products. I reproduce it here for those of you that aren't subscribers.
Google Moderator is a new way to facilitate question-and-answer sessions during talks, presentations and events that involve large groups of people. Anyone can submit a question and then people can vote on the questions that they'd like answered. http://moderator.appspot.com
Bill Gates: The Age of Software-Powered Communications
Among the ridiculously large number of different mailing lists I receive, I'm on an interesting one from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), executive communiques from Bill Gates himself. Well, most likely, memos from someone who works for Bill and composes these ridiculously long missives. Nonetheless, just like having a ghost-blogger, I think it's fair to assume that these messages represent the thoughts and opinions of one of the richest and most successful software entrepreneurs in the world.
From a Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) perspective, I find these interesting because they suggest how Microsoft corporation is thinking about the Internet and the rise of search engines: remember that Google has also been pushing aggressively towards creating a Web-based competitor to Microsoft Office, which, along with Windows itself (and the stalled-out Vista), is the core revenue stream for the corporation.
Anyway, here's what Bill had to say...
Google Friends Newsletter - April 2007
Another issue of Google's marketing newsletter, this is a splendid way to find out what they are promoting to the user community right now. Remember, if Google is actively promoting a particular tool or feature, you should definitely be checking it out too! --DT
Create your own Google Maps
A new Google Maps feature lets you easily create maps with placemarks that incorporate your text comments, photos, and videos from YouTube and Google Video. It's a great way of sharing your stories on a map, whether it's stops you enjoyed on a recent vacation or the best places to grab a quick bite to eat in your city. To get started, just click the "My Maps" tab on the left-hand side of the Google Maps homepage. You can take a look at the maps other people have created (there's even one of the Googleplex), and then get started making your own by clicking "Create new map." If you make your map public, we will make it searchable for other folks who use Google Maps. http://maps.google.com
Beta announcement of Google AdSense Referrals
Here's a program that you might want to keep an eye on, as it might well open up another revenue stream for your site, one that's far more low-key than AdSense itself...This is an email message I received from Google about being included in their new beta program. I'll post more as I see how it works!
Congratulations, your account has been selected to participate in the AdSense Referrals Beta. The Referrals Beta is an exciting new feature of AdSense that allows you to:
- Earn extra revenue on a cost-per-action basis
- Select ads from hundreds of AdWords advertisers as well as our standard Google product offerings
- Select a list of relevant keywords for your site and let Google figure out the best ads for your site
- Customize your referral ads to match the look and feel of your site
- Track the success of your referral units with custom channels
To get started, simply log in to your AdSense account, click on AdSense Setup, then select Referrals.....
Enabling Secure Anywhere Access in a Connected World
Every so often Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, sends out a position statement essay to the media. Here's his latest...
During the last decade, digital technology has changed the world in profound and exciting ways. Today we communicate instantly with the people we care about without worrying about traditional limitations of time and location. At work, we collaborate with colleagues in distant cities. Global supply chains enable businesses to manufacture products and move them to market with incredible speed and efficiency. Mobile devices ensure that we are productive no matter where we are.
But these changes are just the beginning. As more and more of the world's information, commerce, and communications moves to digital form, it will open the door to a new world of connected experiences that link our interests and our communities into a seamless whole that extends across home, work, school, and play.
Already, a new generation of technology is transforming expectations for how we will conduct business, communicate, access entertainment, and much more. Increasingly, people envision a world of anywhere access - a world in which the information, the communities, and the content that they value is available instantly and easily, no matter where they are.
Google Friends Newsletter
Another month, another set of new products and services that Google's rolling out and highlighting for customers. Even if you don't use these, always think about the implications of their release on the overall strategy at Google...
Click-to-call on Google Maps
Google Maps isn't just for searching local businesses anymore; now you can "click to call" the business listings on Google Maps directly for free, anywhere in the United States. When you search for a business within the U.S., ring it up by clicking the "call" link next to the business's phone number. You'll be asked to enter your phone number and after clicking "Connect for free," we'll call your phone and automatically connect you without sharing your phone number with the business. The numbers you call from Google Maps will be stored automatically in your phone's caller ID, so you can call them again. And, by checking the box to remember your phone number, you can make future calls from Google Maps with just two mouse clicks.
[Ed note: Now you can see how a VOIP service and ecommerce go together. Interestingly, Google got into trouble with people using this system to crank call, so they'd find, say, a cigar shop and enter someone else's number into the 'click to call' box. Google's tweaking the service as a result.]
Google Launches Hosted Communications Services
This is a media release from Google Corporation, and is worth reading through. I'll have some commentary at the end...
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., August 28, 2006 - Google Inc. today announced the launch of Google Apps for Your Domain, a set of hosted applications for organizations that want to provide high quality communications tools to their users without the hassle of installing and maintaining software or hardware.
In addition to customizing the user interface with their own branding and color scheme, organizations can tailor the service to their needs by mixing and matching the email, messaging, calendaring and other tools offered through Google Apps for Your Domain. Over time, Google will offer versions of Google Apps for Your Domain that are oriented toward the needs of a variety of organizations, from family websites and community groups to non-profits and small businesses, as well as universities, large enterprises, and ISPs.
AdWords now has fraud analysis accessible to advertisers
Here's an interesting article from the Google AdWords team that touches lightly on the serious issue of clickfraud:
Estimating Invalid Clicks in AdWords
Clickfraud, in case you haven't bumped into the term before, is the bane of online advertising when you're paying for clicks that aren't from potential customers but rather people who are trying to inflate their own click thru rates to increase their AdSense payout. It's easy to understand why publishers might have the urge to tell their friends "click on my links, I'll make more money", but from an advertisers perspective, it's terrible because it's ripping you off for your hard-earned marketing budget.
Google doesn't support click fraud. But isn't that obvious?
Sometimes it's amazing how people misinterpret what others say and then run with it. In the last few weeks, the buzz in the search engine world has been about how Google CEO Eric Schmidt apparently said that the company was okay with click fraud because it'd all balance out due to economic factors.
It should be no surprise that he didn't say that, actually, and now Google's issued a clarification that makes for interesting reading:
"You may have seen some of the media coverage generated by a blogger's quoting Eric Schmidt about click fraud. By using select excerpts and ignoring the context of the remarks, that blog post made for an interesting read, but was unfortunately misleading.
"Eric spoke at a SIEPR economics event at Stanford in March. At the end of his remarks he took questions. (You can view the whole presentation and Q&A that followed here.)
"Here's the relevant question Eric was asked about click fraud: "Recently there’s been some talk about click fraud being a potential threat to the entire advertising business model. I was just wondering what your thoughts on that were and if there’s an economic solution to it more than just technical solutions."
Welcome to Google's online payment system, Google Checkout
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 29, 2006 - Google Inc. today announced the launch of Google Checkout (checkout.google.com), a checkout process that makes online shopping faster, more convenient and more secure for Google users. Google Checkout offers an easy and trusted checkout option that enables shoppers to purchase from participating stores with a single Google login. It also works with Google's search advertising program, AdWords, to help merchants acquire new customers and process all or a portion of their Checkout sales for free.
"By integrating the checkout process with search and advertising, we're helping our users complete the cycle of searching, finding and buying," said Salar Kamangar, Vice President of Product Management at Google. "In the offline world, shoppers don't tolerate long lines and tedious data entry just to buy something. They shouldn't have to in the online world either. Google Checkout simplifies and improves the online purchase experience for both consumers and merchants."
Google now offers Ad Scheduling for AdWords
This is straight from Google:
"Ad scheduling (also known as "dayparting") lets you tell Google exactly when you want your ads to run, and more importantly -- when you do not want them to run. In addition, more advanced users can automatically modify their bids based on time-of-day and day-of-week cycles in campaign performance.
"Ad scheduling can also help you improve your ROI by ensuring that your ads run when it makes the most business sense. For instance, a local business may only want to run their ads during business hours, or an online retailer may want to boost their bids during their busier-than-normal lunchtime shopping period.
"If you wish to try this new feature, you can enable it via the Edit Campaign Settings page."
Reference link: AdWords Ad Scheduling
AdSense click fraud done by robots?
If you've read my book, you already know that Google AdSense can be a great way to monetize your Web site, if you choose to travel that path, but that it's imperative that you do not click on the ads that show up on your pages.
There are a couple of reasons for this, including the fact that it defrauds the advertiser out of their marketing expenditure for a click that by definition won't convert into a customer, but perhaps the biggest reason is simply that you can get kicked out of the AdSense program entirely if their system detects even a small amount of fraudulent clicking.
Which is why this article by Search Engine Watch blogger Jennifer "Jenstar" Slegg is so interesting to ponder: Botnet clicking AdSense ads revealed.
AdSense: Google's Hidden Payroll
This is an excerpt from a darn interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor of 29 March, 2006, entitled Google's Hidden Payroll.
Jayant Kumar Gandhi, a former software engineer in New Delhi, is one of hundreds of thousands around the world on Google's shadow payroll.
In his spare time, Mr. Gandhi runs a free computer help website and recently began running ads by Google on his homepage as part of Google Adsense, a program that pays website publishers for advertising space. When visitors click on the ads on Gandhi's site, Google makes a small profit from the advertiser, and in turn, pays a percentage of that profit to Gandhi.
Such clicks can translate into pennies - or dollars - a day for a Web publisher. "I had no intentions of using it for more than a week," Gandhi says. "I didn't believe the stories that Adsense paid decent money. I ignored them as a marketing gimmick."
But Gandhi's Adsense profits have exceeded his wildest dreams. He now earns about $1,000 a month from the program, the same salary he previously earned as a software engineer. His new income has allowed him to leave his job and return to school. "Today I am able to sponsor my higher studies because of Adsense," he says.
Fun new Google service: Movie info
This is from my Ask Dave Taylor Tech Support site...
I only just noticed this: when you search on the name of a movie on Google, it now shows you lots of cool information about the film, including where it's playing in your neighborhood. Very nice. But when did Google launch this new Google movie information service?
Google agrees to pay $90 mln in click fraud suit
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Web search leader Google Inc. said on Wednesday it had agreed to pay up to $90 million to settle a class action lawsuit over advertising fraud by outside parties on its site, in a bid to put the controversy behind it.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by Lane's Gifts earlier this year in an Arkansas state court and is designed to settle all outstanding claims against Google for fraud committed using its pay-per-click ad system back to 2002, it said.
The $90 million would involve legal fees and credits -- rather than any cash payments -- to all advertisers who apply to be part of the class settlement, once the judge certifies the agreement, Google spokesman Steve Langdon said.
Latest news from Google: Google Friends Newsletter
Google Friends Newsletter
February salutations to Google Friends everywhere. We hope you enjoy this update on Google services and new products. At the bottom of this message, you'll find details on subscribing to or canceling this newsletter.
Winter Games Enhanced
We've updated Google Earth and Google Local with high resolution imagery of the area surrounding Torino, Italy, home of the 2006 Winter Games. With Google Earth installed, click on the KMZ file for Olympic Venues, which will load placemarks for all the major sites at the Games. To really appreciate the scenery, be sure to enable the Terrain layer and take advantage of the tilt view control in Google Earth: We've also generated street maps for Torino, which are available in the Google Maps API for those of you interested in creating Winter Games mashups.
Google Local (search on 'Turin' or 'Torino')
Nofollow: Another salvo in the Spam Wars
There's a new HTML attribute in town called "nofollow" that's supposed to prevent weblog spam. In this article you’ll learn about weblog spam, what the nofollow tag is, and how might or might not help the situation.
If you have email, you get unsolicited email messages called spam. What you might not have realized, however, is that Web sites get spammed too, with bogus articles, comments or discussion board entries that are intended to add links to another Web site rather than further the discussion.
In the world of Weblogs (or “blogs��? for short), it’s reaching epidemic proportion, and fighting blog spammers has become a serious effort for the online community. For some bloggers, it’s a matter of survival, as they drown in the dozens or even hundreds of bogus comments added by software applications on a nightly basis.
Google Toolbar Gets Personal
Users Can Now Customize their Search Experience with Latest Version of
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., January 30, 2006 - Google Inc.
today announced the latest version of Google Toolbar and a new Google
Toolbar for Enterprise. The new beta versions of Google Toolbar for
Internet Explorer are open and customizable, with new features that
enable users to customize their search experience and share information
Yahoo Search redesign scheduled?
Nothing validates leadership than having your competitors try to become more like you, and that's what I think is happening with Yahoo Search. Here's the content of a memo just sent out to advertisers promising a significant redesign of Yahoo Search to, I'm guessing, more closely resemble Google:
Subject: New look for Yahoo! Search Results, More Clicks for You
A new look is coming to the Yahoo! search results pages that will translate into more clicks for your listings. On January 18th, Yahoo! will debut a streamlined design that will make the search results displayed on Yahoo! even easier for consumers to read. Our research has shown that by improving the search experience in this way, advertisers can generally expect to see an increase in clicks, while maintaining their conversion rates.
How this change impacts your listings...
Note from the Google AdSense Team
Just received this from Google, so I thought it'd be useful to share it with those of you considering the AdSense program. If you are going to join, I suggest that you start here.
Note from the Google AdSense Team
Over the past few months, AdSense has gone through quite a few changes � some big, some small, all designed to make the program that much better for our publishers. In case you missed any of these updates, we've outlined them below and provided links to resources with more information. We hope you'll learn more about and take advantage of the new features and improvements to get the most out of your AdSense account.
If you have any comments after reading our updates, we encourage you to share them with us, so that we can continue to improve the features and services we offer through AdSense in the future.
The Google AdSense Team
What's the future of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?
Dave, I'm just getting started on a research project on alternative forms of pay per performance advertising such as pay per click or pay per call. I'm trying to identify companies or business models that have successfully built (or are trying to build) on pay per click/call/acquisition, etc. and would like to ask for your advice and opinion on this business segment.
The most common Internet-based advertising is now Pay Per Click. It's the foundation of advertising systems like Google's AdSense program, Yahoo's Overture, etc. I also believe that PPC is a logical reaction to the 90's "bubble" pay for impressions world, a model created when advertisers realized that a million eyeballs didn't necessarily translate into any sales at all.
Pay per acquisition is also widely used and is known in the online world as an affiliate program. For example, Amazon Associates, which has over 100,000 members who are including special links back to Amazon sales pages, but they aren't paid until the customer actually buys the book and completes the transaction.
New Google AdWords Keyword System Released
Important news for people working with the Google AdWords program, from the AdWords team...
Google AdWords� Announcement: New Keyword System Released
Hello from the Google AdWords Team:
We're happy to let you know that we've implemented our new keyword status system. We've simplified our keyword states and introduced quality-based minimum bids, giving you more control to run on keywords that you find important. With these improvements, your keywords will now either be active or inactive, depending on their quality and maximum cost-per-click (CPC).