Thursday, January 18, 2007

Google, Yahoo gain share in U.S. Web search market

CNET "Google has increased its share of the U.S. Web search market to 47.4 percent with a gain of 0.4 percent during December, while No. 2 ranked Yahoo also edged higher, a survey said Monday.
Web audience measurement firm comScore Networks said No. 3-ranked Microsoft's share slid 0.5 percent to 10.5 percent of U.S. Web searches while InterActiveCorp's's share dipped 0.1 percent to 5.4 percent.

Google has gained share in 16 of the last 17 months in the United States, the world's largest Internet market, according to comScore data. "

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Search Engine Market Share

To say there is a search engine market share war is like saying the pet goldfish has a chance against the great white shark. Google has increased its leadership role from a total of 67.39% usage market share to start 2006 to a total of 76.10% market share to start 2007. The market share losers:

Yahoo! has dropped from 13.02% to 10.61%.
MSN has fallen behind (far behind) Google UK.
AOL has fallen into the "Others" category - barely half of Google Canada - and, didn't break into the top 6 this year.
So what can the other search engines do to stop the great white shark? Stop acting like pet goldfish, and start acting like a school of piranha. If someone with resources would start providing better search results with no click fraud loving sites that are purely ads with no real content, people would use it!

Search Engine Market Share Statistics for 2007 vs. 2006

As of 1/1/2007

52.02% Google
10.61% Yahoo!
8.40% Google UK
5.04% MSN
4.39% Google AdSense
3.26% Google Canada
16.19% Other

As of 1/1/2006

48.09% Google
13.02% Yahoo!
9.18% MSN
7.45% Google UK
3.23% Google Canada
2.93% AOL
16.06% Other

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Can “You” Damage Your Company’s Reputation?

Can “You” Damage Your Company’s Reputation?
By Steve Plunkett

While it’s true that a large portion of the population still gets the bulk of its news from traditional media outlets like the television news and newspapers, there are other members of the population that have expanded the scope of where they get their news. They were the “You” of TIME Magazine’s famed “Person of the Year” for 2006. By choosing “You,” the magazine was talking about people that ingest, filter and re-supply hundreds, if not thousands, of bits of information via a variety of news sources in a sort of new electronic version of word of mouth. The term du jour is “citizen journalist,” and it’s important to know what makes these influencers tick – because, while they sometimes say good things about your company, there’s an awful lot of negative information being posted on the Web by these people. Your company needs to be aware of what’s going on so you can protect yourself from “You.”
To demonstrate the power of citizen journalism and its influence, consider the following example: Last year, I was unhappy about my treatment at a particular auto dealership so I blogged about it. To this day, if you put the name of the automobile dealership into a search engine, one of the first results that comes up is my blog entry, which recounts my experience from a factual perspective. While I won’t go into great detail here, let’s just say that all of the potential customers that click on my blog before clicking the auto dealer’s website link may think twice before heading over to that dealership.
It’s important to remember that “You” can work fast to report on a product or service. How fast? Well, all it takes for “You” to be an instant media outlet is Internet access and a camera phone, which are both plentiful these days. If your company releases a product, “You” can be the first to purchase it then publish a video and review of it on a blog and/or YouTube within minutes. If the original blog has a downstream blog feed enabled, that blog post shows up on someone else’s blog (or several blogs). By sending out a MySpace bulletin or posting a comment with a link, “You” can touch even more people. “You” may then stop over at CNet and drop some comments about the original blog entry. Reuters and the Washington Post have blogs that allow users to leave comments, too. Oops, I almost forgot to mention that hundreds of TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines have blogs that will allow users to post comments.
Within minutes, that original review of your company’s product will be linked to on websites and posted in the comments sections of blogs all over the Web. Before long, it will begin creeping its way toward the top of the search engine results. That means that when someone types in the name of your product in a search engine, that original blog post may come up as one of the top results. You may be thinking, “Wow! That’s great free publicity!” But what if the original blog post is a slam of your new product, or what if that customer bought a defective unit or is using your product ineffectively or improperly and, for millions of people, the first impression of your product is a negative one?
How can your company avoid this? Work with a knowledgeable Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provider. It’s a simple solution that can help to make sure your company website comes up first – ahead of “non-official” websites – in the search engine results for searches on your company’s name and product. That way, people get your official company information instead of what “You” had to say.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cracking the code of teens' IM slang

Cracking the code of teens' IM slang CNET "For parents of teens, three-letter acronyms like PAW, MOS and CD9 might be more disturbing than the old four-letter words.
Call it a sign of the times. Most teens are like a duck to water when it comes to instant messaging and mobile text messaging, where acronyms and slang can be used to keep outsiders guessing. But for parents who likely aren't as comfortable with IM slang: PAW means 'parents are watching'; MOS is 'mom over shoulder'; and CD9 means 'Code 9' for when parents are around. Research shows that one in four kids use such lingo daily to warn their chat friends of prying eyes."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pontiac Dealers Dallas-Ft.Worth

Google This.
by Steve Plunkett

In June of this year Google was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a verb, then to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in July. Here is the definition:

“to search for information on the Internet, esp. using the Google search engine”

Before this, General Motors ran a commercial during the Super Bowl for its Pontiac brand. The TV spot showed the letters p-o-n-t-i-a-c being typed into a Google search field instead of giving the Web address The voiceover said, "Don't take our word for it. Google ‘Pontiac’ to find out!"

You might think “Gee, that’s clever and hip!” Well, someone else obviously did – and sold the idea to Pontiac. It may be clever and hip, but Pontiac is sending people to a place where it has no control over the content.

The agency representing Mazda, on the other hand, knew a little bit more about search engines. It bought ads on Google because Mazda had information that compared its models to Pontiac models. When car shoppers Googled “Pontiac,” like the Pontiac commercial told them to do, the search results included a webpage that sold Mazda as a better choice than Pontiac. In essence, Mazda used Pontiac’s investment to “piggyback” some of its own advertising. Pretty shrewd move by Mazda. And Pontiac didn’t learn anything from the experience.

Which brings me to, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.” Pontiac now runs similar spots in local markets. While watching television the other night, I saw a Pontiac ad that said, “Just Google ‘Pontiac dealers dallas-ft.worth,’” so I did. The results were pay-per-click ads for a few local Pontiac dealers. Problem is, studies show that quite a few people never click on pay-per-click ads. (Think about it; do you?) So, out of the predictably tiny percentage of viewers who actually did go to their computers and Google “Pontiac dealers dallas-ft.worth,” perhaps a fraction actually clicked the pay-per-click links to learn more. What a waste.

And for Pontiac, the story gets even worse.

When publishers announced that they would include the verb “Google” in their dictionaries, I blogged about the story. And because I used the phrase “Just Google Pontiac” in my post, guess what came up first in Google’s search results for “Pontiac dealers dallas-ft.worth.” Yep, my blog beat out the actual Pontiac website and the local Pontiac dealers’ websites.

Being the SEO specialist that I am, I decided to experiment and try some of my Internet magic. Today, when you Google “Pontiac dealers dallas-ft.worth,” the first result will be the article you’re reading right now. Still not Pontiac or Pontiac dealer websites. I can’t tell you how I did it. It’s a trade secret. But go ahead and try it.

The point is Pontiac has given up entirely too much control over its own advertising. A competitor or a prankster with the right Internet skills could hijack all of the company’s hard work, actually using Pontiac’s investment to take business away from Pontiac.

Pontiac spent millions producing TV spots, buying airtime and reserving pay-per-click ads. To put it mildly, someone is spending a lot of money poorly.

Pontiac should have hired an organic SEO specialist simply to optimize the websites for individual dealers and, in place of pay-per-click ads, the website of the North Texas Pontiac Dealers. If they had done that, the company would’ve saved itself a lot of money – and they’d be number one in Google instead of me, an SEO specialist with a blog.

At a time when GM needs a happier ending, “the rest of the story” could’ve been far more profitable.