Apropos of nothing:
Did I ever mention that Philipp is a Genius?
Do you still not grok Del.icio.us? Well, here's an amazing little AJAX application that provides an alternate interface. Unfortunately, unless you already have an account, it won't help you derive meaning from the semantically ontological goodness that is delicious, but at least you can look at some pictures.
The one-day meme that was: "Google is going to take out PayPal" is now waning since Eric Schmidt himself said that wasn't the case.
However, my guess is that Google's payment service is related to this factoid: (via Andy Beal): 51% of Adults Shop with Search Engines
Connecting Froogle to offline inventory is the next big move. Anything that connects Google's traffic to shopping comparison, and to merchants is gonna be huge. And Froogle, though slowly improving, has never had a day in the sun.
So it's not really EBay in the cross-hairs - it's Amazon.
Not many people understand the real issue with click fraud - that is, it's very lucrative if you can use networks of anonymous zombie-PCs and automated software. It's also impossible to detect. This Wired news article by Adam Penenberg is one of the few that goes beyond the basics.
"There are guys out there that have made a career by gaming the search engines out of their advertisers' money," Holcomb said. While competitor click fraud has received the most attention, affiliate fraud is a much bigger threat to the search ad market -- and both are getting harder to spot, since "hitbot" software, designed to mimic human behavior, is getting more sophisticated all the time.
There is a HUGE incentive for sophisticated click fraudsters to slowly but surely build fraudulent traffic via compromised PCs. Google and publishers currently have no way of distinguishing those clicks as fraudulent.
Besides, I've come to think that the market has discounted click fraud for now, and until something spectacular happens, it's not gonna get addressed.
In my main Gmail account I get "WebClips" - which is an ad formatted in one line at the top of each message. I never read them and click on them less often. I rue the day when Google made the change from the "old-style" Gmail ads - three in a box on the right side.
I actually liked those old ads, and clicked them fairly regularly. Google also had "related" content there.
I discovered today that old format still exists when I logged into an alternate Gmail account that I don't use much. Surprise - the old, beloved ad formats!
The obvious upshot - format and positioning can make a big difference on user experience. And if anyone knows how to set a Gmail account to get the old ads, and eliminate the web clips, I'd love to know.
Another great article from Marketing Sherpa (open access until June 19): Can you generate leads via low-cost direct-response TV ads? This case study shows how TheLadders.com ran a test for under $200k.
Of course, this is done by more than a few companies today, but as online advertising gets more expensive, you will start to see many more pure online companies using radio, TV, and print ads to drive online conversion.
Celebsoup is an example of an aggregated content site. Each page has news, videos, images, etc. for a specific celebrity. More and more, content is going to be assembled automatically using APIs and RSS feeds.
Great Stuff on keyword management best practices from Marketing Sherpa. Open access until June 17.
CNet reports on the latest purchase of a shopping search engine for over $500M.
Why is shopping comparison worth so much? Good question - because when Google gets its act together with Froogle, the recent purchases of Shopping.com and ShopZilla aren't going to look as attractive.
Shopping sites offer a way to simplify online advertising for retailers. Instead of creating ad campaigns around keywords, you advertise based on products.
In other words, you don't need to spend a ton of time making up keywords. When someone is searching for "Oster Mixer", you simply pay to become the featured result, and you get traffic to your site. That's a simpler model for many online retailers.
This paid-inclusion occurs today, of course, primarily with digital cameras and electronics price comparison sites. When Google turns it on, it will become a new ballgame for all the shopping sites out there, though.
PS. If Shopping.com and ShopZilla are worth over $500M, I wonder what NexTag will be priced at? $2-3B?