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Thursday, December 07, 2006

At Yahoo, Rising Finance Chief Faces a Host of Challenges

Recharging Yahoo Ad Systems a Big Test for Susan Decker
The leading CEO Successor at Yahoo.

edit of wall street journal story

Yahoo's reorganization vaults Susan Decker, a highly regarded chief financial officer with limited operational experience, to oversee some of the companies' biggest challenges.

Under the new yahoo management overhaul Ms. Decker, 44 years old, assumes responsibility for Sunnyvale, Calif., based Yahoo revenue-generating activities, including its sales of online advertising for Yahoo and partner sites.

Yahoo's shares have slumped more than 31% since the beginning of the year, amid a delay to a key ad-system upgrade (Yahoo Panama) and slowing revenue growth the company partly attributed to increased competition from rival Web sites for ad dollars. Yahoo needs to improve organic search results.

As head of Head of Yahoo's Advertiser & Publisher Group Ms. Decker will be charged directly with tackling such ad-related issues, which some people close to the company characterize as a test of her fitness to potentially succeed Chief Executive Terry Semel, 63 years old, upon his eventual retirement.

Yahoo said its new corporate structure, which was also accompanied by the announced departure of several senior executives including Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig and Yahoo Media Group head Lloyd Braun and possibly 1,300 other Yahoo employees, increases accountability and speeds decision-making.

Can Yahoo quickly repair and improve its tired search engine and second tier online-advertising systems, with the latest overhaul dubbed internally as "Yahoo Panama."?

Yahoo expects the Panama upgrade, that began in late July and delayed several times and then hastily and only partly launched, to help increase profits starting early in 2007, though key executives have conceded uncertainties about the timing or magnitude of the boost. As numerous technical snafus have plagued Panama to date.

That makes the new role of Ms. Decker, a former equity-research analyst and fan of investor Warren Buffett, a crucial one for the company. Ms. Decker, who joined Yahoo as chief financial officer in June 2000, has frequently handled more chores than the traditional finance functions of a chief financial officer, say people familiar with the matter, but her profile has increased in the past year.

Ms. Decker led Yahoo's talks with eBay Inc., in which Yahoo beat out Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. for a pact to serve ads on eBay's auction site and marketplace in the U.S. this year. Semiconductor giant Intel Corp. last month named her to its board of directors.

Ms. Decker has limited experience in operations at Yahoo. "The Street is going to perceive this, fair or not, as a test for Sue: Can she run an operational unit?" says Benjamin Schachter, an Internet analyst at UBS Securities, whose parent company or its subsidiaries own a stake in Yahoo.

As part of a separate reorganization announced in September, Ms. Decker added operational oversight over a new unit that includes classifieds, dating, jobs, real estate, travel, autos, shopping and auctions, now part of her expanding group under this week's restructuring. Yahoo said Ms. Decker will also continue to perform her finance duties until it finds a successor in that role.

A Yahoo spokeswoman said Ms. Decker's changing role was unrelated to any succession planning and that Mr. Semel had no plans to leave the company (yet).

Regarding Ms. Decker's limited experience running operations, the spokeswoman said, "If anyone can do it, I'm sure it's Sue Decker." The spokeswoman said Ms. Decker or other company executives were not available to comment.

Under the reorganization, Senior Vice President Jeff Weiner, 36 years old, also assumes a more prominent role in the company. Mr. Weiner, who worked with Mr. Semel at Warner Bros. and the Windsor Digital private-equity firm prior to joining Yahoo in 2001, has overseen Yahoo's efforts to challenge Google in Web search and squeeze more money from its frazzled search advertising system. Now Mr. Weiner will have responsibility for a broad swathe of the company's products, including search, under a yet-to-be-named head of a newly created Audience Group.

Some people close to Yahoo describe the new role as a test of Mr. Weiner's management skills and describe his track record as somewhat mixed, given how Google is broadening its lead in Web search market share in recent years and the delay in the Panama project.

The Yahoo spokeswoman said Mr. Weiner deserved credit for Yahoo's efforts to launch its own search technology in 2004 and recent initiatives, such as its popular Answers service, while any problems with the search ad system predated his responsibility. Mr. Weiner will oversee the rollout of the Yahoo Panama upgrade through at least the first quarter of 2007.

With his resignation, Mr. Rosensweig will join a pack of top media and Internet executives whose departures from their posts have been announced this year amid a rapidly changing industry landscape. They include eBay Chief Operating Officer Maynard Webb and PayPal unit President Jeff Jordan, News Corp.'s Fox's digital czar Ross Levinsohn, Viacom Inc. CEO Tom Freston and Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Time Warner Inc.'s America Online Internet unit.

Mr. Rosensweig said he was leaving Yahoo of his own accord at the end of March, after having been asked by Yahoo to assume a role that was "to be bigger and fun" but to which he was asked to commit for another three years or longer. Mr. Rosensweig said ultimately he "was ready for something new."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yahoo Announces Major Shake-Up

Streamlining Focus On (3) Core Areas: Audience, Advertising, Technology

Yahoo is tackling its most difficult challenge since the dot-com bust with sweeping organizational changes aimed at cleaning up a mess of the Internet icon's own making.

The overhaul, announced Tuesday night, represents Yahoo's mea culpa for meandering aimlessly during the past year, to the chagrin of investors and the delight of competitors like Google Inc. that lured away online traffic and advertisers.

Yahoo has fallen out of favor on Wall Street largely because Google — the Internet's search leader — has done a far better job of figuring out which ads are most likely to elicit clicks. That action generates more profits for Google and its partners while keeping advertisers happy with a steady stream of prospective customers.

To compound its misery, Yahoo has been introducing a mishmash of products with no clear strategy on how they blend into the rest of the mix on its Web site. The scattershot approach appears to have aggravated and confused many consumers who are gravitating to new Internet hot spots such as News Corp.'s and YouTube, which Google just bought for $1.76 billion.

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo believes it can get back on track by consolidating its operations into three groups focused on its audience, advertising network and behind-the-scenes technology.

The shake-up will reshuffle top management, entrusting Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker to fix the problems bedeviling Yahoo's advertising system and opening a job for an executive who will be hired to guide efforts to make Yahoo's Web site more useful and relevant.

At least two top executives won't be part of Yahoo's new agenda.

Lloyd Braun, a former television executive hired two years ago to run Yahoo's media division in Southern California, has already left the company. Dan Rosensweig, Yahoo's chief operating officer since 2002, will step down in March once the reorganization is complete.

Yahoo Chairman Terry Semel remains chief executive, although his job security and legacy at the company may be riding on how well this makeover pans out.

Once revered on Wall Street for reviving Yahoo after the dot-com meltdown, Semel has come under fire this year amid slowing profit growth that has battered the company's stock price.

Semel's fix-it strategy didn't impress investors Wednesday. Yahoo shares fell 57 cents to close at $26.86 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Yahoo's stock price has plunged by more than 30 percent so far this year, to wipe out nearly $20 billion in shareholder wealth.

The fallout might include pink slips for some of its 11,000 employees.

Banc of America Securities analyst Brian Pitz predicted in a Wednesday research note that Yahoo will consider pruning its payrolls next year as part of an effort to boost its profits.

Standard & Poor's analyst Scott Kessler also thinks Yahoo might clean house in its media division now that Braun is gone. "You have to wonder about the long-term future there," Kessler said. "You could see some paring down there."

Yahoo spokeswoman Kelly Delaney declined to comment about the chances of future layoffs, but Semel downplayed the possibility in a statement posted on the company's Web site. "Let me stress that we're organizing the company for growth and are continuing to hire great talent," he wrote.

Brad Garlinghouse, a Yahoo senior vice president in charge of the company's communications products, made a case for 1,500 to 2,000 layoffs in a recent memo that was leaked to the media.

"For far too many employees, there is another person with dramatically similar and overlapping responsibilities," Garlinghouse wrote. "This slows us down and burdens the company with unnecessary costs."

That memo, which likened Yahoo's business recipe to peanut butter spread too thinly over toast, foreshadowed some of the actions taken in Tuesday's shake-up. But in his Web posting, Semel indicated that the reorganization began to take shape before Garlinghouse wrote his memo.

In an attempt to address it most pressing problem, Yahoo has been working on a series of improvements to its advertising formula. After promising to unveil the advertising change by the crucial holiday shopping season, Yahoo encountered unexpected hiccups that delayed any financial gains until next year.

Decker, a former Wall Street analyst who has been Yahoo's CFO for six years, is being entrusted to make sure the advertising upgrades pay off. The decision to put her in such a crucial job makes her a prime candidate to succeed the 63-year-old Semel.

"It's obvious Sue Decker is now the heir apparent," Kessler said. "I think (the board) may want to see how she does in an operational capacity before letting her move in as CEO."

Decker will be up to the challenges ahead, predicted Rob Solomon, a former Yahoo executive who left the company nearly a year ago to become CEO of SideStep, a Silicon Valley search engine focused on travel. "Sue Decker is brilliant, always the smartest person in whatever room she walks into," Solomon said.

Semel may have held on to his job for now because a change-in-command during the final weeks of the holiday shopping season probably would have rattled investors already antsy about the forthcoming improvements to the advertising model, Kessler said.

A former movie executive, Semel still has a residual of goodwill for lifting Yahoo out of the dot-com doldrums after he joined the company in May 2001.

Back then, Yahoo was floundering along with just about every other company whose business relied on the Internet. Semel turned things around in a traumatic reorganization that eliminated hundreds of jobs before engineering a series of key acquisitions that paid off as refurbished computer systems advertisers shifted more spending to the Internet.

This time, though, Yahoo's troubles seem to be largely self-inflicted, raising questions whether the company needs new blood to heal the wounds.
Yahoo Shakes Up Management and Company.

The Yahoo Panama implosion continues.

Summary of MarketWatch story with updates from Peak Positions

Yahoo CFO Decker to switch jobs, report directly to CEO Semel; COO resigns.

Yahoo Inc. is revamping its operations and reshuffling its executive ranks as the Internet giant struggles amid stiff competition from Google Inc., but the moves continue to fall far short of expectations.

The one-time $400 a share YHOO stock now trades at 26, and has fallen more than 30% this year. Yahoo will reorganize into three units, one focused on building its Internet audience, one that will deal with advertisers and publishers, and a third group that will develop technology and products for the other two units.

The turmoil at Yahoo includes the departure of Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig and Lloyd Braun, head of Yahoo's media content group. Braun was brought to Yahoo from Hollywood by Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel to create original news and entertainment content.

Susan Decker, who has served as Yahoo chief financial officer since 2000, will become head of the company's advertiser and publisher group, giving her control over nearly ALL of the company's revenue-generating businesses. Many believe Decker is to become Yahoo CEO.

Growth at Yahoo, which for years has owned the most-visited group of Web sites, has been eclipsed by Google, which has come to dominate the lucrative business of selling online ads alongside Internet search results.

Yahoo has grown unwieldy and bureaucratic, critics inside and outside the company have charged, and its offerings in the fast-growing segment of social networking sites have been outpaced by upstarts such as MySpace, now a unit of News Corp., and YouTube, acquired by Google (GOOG).

Giving more responsibility to Decker and the sudden departure of Rosensweig, who will leave at the end of March, may help Semel deflect loud crys for change at the top.

The moves are "very likely a necessary step that carries the potential for improved operational efficiencies at the company," Mahaney wrote in a note to clients.

Yahoo will begin a search for a new CFO to replace Decker and for an executive to head the Audience Group. The Technology Group will be led by Farzad Nazem, Chief Technology Officer at Yahoo since 1998. The heads of all three groups will report directly to Semel.

Still, Yahoo is in for a tough fight to regain its footing against Google, it's chief rival.

Yahoo's sales for the third quarter ended in September rose 20% to $1.12 billion, falling short of its initial forecast on weaker-than-expected online ad sales. By contrast, Google's third-quarter sales rose 70% to $2.69 billion, and its shares have climbed almost 20% this year.

Decker will continue to oversee Yahoo's Marketplaces business unit as part of the Advertiser & Publisher Group, which will focus on the "transformation of how advertisers connect with their target customers across the Internet."

Yahoo said it expects to complete the reorganization by the end of the first quarter, with the leadership changes to be effective Jan. 1. Decker will continue to serve as CFO while the company looks for a successor.

Semel said Yahoo plans to drive growth and profitability by creating "a full-fledged advertising network, with a marketplace that meets supply and demand both on Yahoo's valuable owned-and-operated network and across the entire Internet."

??? whatever ??? how about increasing the quality of Yahoo search results and driving more content relevance throughout the old and tired Yahoo keyword search system.

Improving search results might actually serve users and help Yahoo return improved search results, thereby driving search traffic, page views, SEM click thrus and market share. When will Yahoo stop trying to be all things to all users and instead return their focus to keyword search.

Keyword Search is only the second most popular online activity.

Yahoo still maintains dominance in the most popular online actitivy: email retrieval however, their decision to abandon keyword search continues to result in keyword searchers and market share abandoning Yahoo.

The e-world still remembers Terry Semel's and Yahoo's decision to augment and fill out Yahoo search results with Google search data. In turn Semel and Yahoo helped create Google Mania. Yahoo has been flaming out ever since.

The once proud, dominant keyword search market leader now has to fight with the many also rans for search scraps.

On their knees they remain at Yahoo tired and hungry poor souls seeking a mere slice of the pie they created.

Last month, in its third-quarter financial report, Yahoo noted that its offerings to users and businesses fell into four categories: search, marketplace, information and entertainment; and communications and connected life.

Frustrations at Yahoo were recently made clear in a memo written by Yahoo senior vice president Brad Garlinghouse in November and circulated to key executives.

In the so-called "Peanut Butter Manifesto," Garlinghouse claims Yahoo has a bloated management structure with little room for accountability and had spread its investments too thinly - like peanut butter across bread -- to be competitive.

Yahoo's business endeavors range from email to Internet search to online dating services and digital music.

"Change is needed at Yahoo, and it's needed soon," Garlinghouse wrote in the memo.

Among other efforts, Braun was able to get Yahoo to contribute original content to enhance its aggregated content.

Industry observers have said that Vince Broady or Scott Moore, who have reported to Braun, could be picked to take over for him. Earlier this year, Yahoo brought in GameSpot founder Broady to head the games and entertainment. Moore runs news, finance, technology, sports and lifestyle.

"Over the last two years, the Yahoo Media Group has developed and launched a ground-breaking template for the next generation of media experiences on the Internet," Braun said in a statement.

"There is much more to come in the months ahead. I am proud to have led this team of extraordinary professionals, and I wish Yahoo the greatest success in the future."

More developments are sure to occur at Yahoo as 2006 closes out.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bill Gates Tells Search Advertisers: MSN Will Keep Google Honest.

Just days after apologizing for the first time ever on anything, in a national print campaign for Microsoft's mis-steps and "dropping the ball on search", Bill Gates delivered another apology to search advertisers this week. In a stunning move Gates admitted that Google is the king of search and that Microsoft and their new search engine can only aspire to be second best to Google.

Does the world's wealthiest person and quite possibly the most competitive, who made his mark by directly taking on any and all competitors edging them out of market share and often completely out of business suddenly find happiness with third place ?

Microsoft responding to the flood in demand and in another attempt to increase online advertising and search revenues Microsoft hosted decision makers and executives of hundreds of major ad agencies and brands (including Target, Nike, Procter & Gamble 3M and Johnson & Johnson), who were attending the MSN Strategic Account Summit as reported by Seattle newspapers.

Bill Gates had these statements promoting MSN's inadequate third place status in search.

"Google has done a great job on their search, and what they've done with search advertising," Gates said of Google, but Microsoft, he said, "we will keep them honest in the sense of being able to be better at a number of those things."

Microsoft showed the ad execs its latest online services and programs from many of which include new opportunities for advertising - including Windows Live Mail Desktop, which runs from the computer PC hard drive but includes a space for a display ad. "We are very, very serious about advertising search as a business model across the company," added an MSN VP.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yahoo Google and MSN Launch

Yahoo, Google, and MSN launched the new last night, a webmaster protocol that helps introduce a web standard for robot crawler lists: XML Sitemaps.

A great interview by Chris Richardson of Web Pro News with Tim Mayer of Yahoo and Vaness Fox of Google is posted here.

The new XML sitemaps program is a group acceptance of the Sitemaps service first introduced by Google some months back. The three major search engines are unifying to help work webmasters and site owners in locating, crawling, and indexing more urls and more of the web, especially database powered sites that feature query laiden dynamic urls. is designed as an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. The dynamic sitemaps are simply XML files that list URLs of sites along with additional metas and other tags that inform search engine spiders (that are now responsible for the order of links on organic/natural keyword search results pages at Google, Yahoo, MSN, NetScape, AOL, Roadrunner, Comcast, Charter, Ask, virtually worldwide) how often the content(s) of each URL are updated and the priority or importance of each URL.

The major search engines are hopeful that universal xml sitemaps will help their robot crawlers more intelligently crawl websites. includes a protocol page listing the instructions and information for creating an SEO friendly XML sitemap along with an extensive FAQ file with lots of details.

Creating a universal standard for XML sitemaps is a huge step in terms of collaboration between Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

For more information visit:

This should help MSNbot and the Yahoo/Inktomi/Archiver work with dynamic sites much more.

This is a great development and should help the search engines work with large, database-driven websites, that feature query-laiden URL structures.

Good to see the engines join forces and set universal standards.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Google Set to Launch Advertising Partnership with Major US Newspapers and Magazines.

Google's plan to work closely with the largest US newspaper companies is the search giant's most intense effort to make partnerships with traditional media companies.

Previous attempts to add print advertising to Google's online platform have failed to impress advertisers, most of whom did not believe the system offered any advantage over the current method of buying ads direct from Tribune, Gannett, or the New York Times newspapers.

However, Google will try to improve the system, which aims to use its technology to place print advertising in its partner newspapers in the same way that search can be targeted.

According to plans published late last week, Google will work closely with the major newspapers in a three month trial period to extend its online advertising technology to all sectors of mass media.

Online advertising is the fastest-growing ad category, but the value of online advertising is still relatively small to the amounts spent in radio, newspapers, magazines and television.

After Google's acquisition last month of internet video site YouTube, the internet group is involved in high-level discussions with big media companies to try to strike deals to be allowed to use their video content online and to sell ads against it.

Some analysts said the newspaper industry's decision to work with Google could make it harder to impose rate rises. But others said the decision was unlikely to affect prices of premium content.

Peter Herschberg at Reprise media, said: "By introducing targeting criteria so successful in search to radio, print and television, Google may raise the floor on something that has not yet been valuable in newspaper advertising."

Google is expanding its lucrative Internet advertising network into the print world as a bold attempt to capture more traditional advertising dollars. The search king, which makes 99 percent of its revenue from Internet ads, is quietly testing the waters of print advertising sales, according to executives at several companies that have bought the ads. Google recently began buying ad pages in technology magazines, including PC Magazine and Maximum PC, and reselling those pages--cut into quarters or fifths--to small advertisers that already belong to its online ad network: Google AdWords.

The move is another significant step for Google toward becoming a one-stop shop for ad sales--whether online or offline. The trial also marks the first time the company has ventured offline with any advertising product.

"We were approached by Google two and a half months ago, telling us that they were starting this print advertising campaign," Michael Keen, president of Inksite, one of the five advertisers in PC Magazine, said Monday. "Because we had been one of their AdWords advertisers, they thought we would be a good candidate to try their new print advertising vehicle".

The print ads expand Google's efforts to become a middleman or media broker between advertisers and publishers. "Google has shown that big media companies don't have to be part of the mix at all," Hanlon said. "People can just get the content and ads directly from an uber-intermediary. That's caught a lot of traditional ad types off guard."

Inksite, which sells printer ink and toner, paid about $1,000 for a one-quarter page ad in the Sept. 6 issue of PC Magazine, Keen said. By comparison, a text ad in search results for "printer toner" might cost as much as $2.25 per click. The issue has a full page of Google-facilitated ads with the URL of an online version of the page at the top. Fine text also appears at the top saying "Ads by Google," and "Google advertisers offer these products and services" at the bottom. However, there is no Google logo.

Over the last four years, Google has established itself as the kingpin of online advertising, largely through its sales of tiny Pay Per Click advertisiements that appear alongside keyword search results. Google's "cost per click" system was built on selling keyword ads to the highest bidder and letting marketers pay only when Web surfers click on tiny text links. It was introduced in early 2002.

By also syndicating those ads to third-party Web sites and publishers, Google struck gold, and its revenue climbed to more than $3 billion last year. Concurrently click fraud and fraudulent click activity also skyrocketed and rather than reduce click fraud ratios, improve the integrity of the AdWords PPC system, and deliver more value to their online advertising base, Google has instead decided to reach out and deliver advertising in more mediums.

Google's latest move toward the print advertising business has some financial analysts frowning. "I would be surprised and somewhat disappointed if they were to spend a lot of money and resources on a print advertising unit," said Safa Rashtchy, senior Internet analyst at Piper Jaffray. "My guess is it is just an experiment."

"Google has shown that big media companies don't have to be part of the media mix at all."

Some internet marketing watchers see an upside in this latest move by Google, given that search ad sales could eventually peak.

"All the big talk today is how the inventory available for PPC (pay per click) ads is shrinking each day," Barry Schwartz, editor of Search Engine Roundtable, wrote in an e-mail. "So it does make sense for Google to look for ways to increase that inventory." Also as click fraud goes unresolved many Google advertisers are reining in PPC advertising efforts seeking more discovery and investigation as to increasing PPC expenditures and falling AdWords conversion rates.

Gartner analyst Allen Weiner noted that Google and Yahoo had approached shopper magazines in Europe about similar ads. "Hey, if these companies want to evolve to become full-service ad agencies, I think they'll be looking at print opportunities," Weiner said.

Despite mixed reactions from Google watchers, some online marketers said they are excited about the potential.

Bill Adler, chief executive of security software company CyberScrub, another of the Google advertisers in PC Magazine, said print ads are a welcome alternative to pay-for-click, which "tends to be somewhat up and down as far as effectiveness, for any number of reasons."

"I think this will give us an opportunity to showcase our products to a different audience and reinforce our branding," Adler said.

AHS Systems, a maker of Web-based content management software, paid $4,000 to $5,000 for its ad to appear in PC Magazine for two months, compared with the $3,000 that a typical ad that size would likely cost in the magazine for one month, said AHS Systems President Jeff Witkowski.

"It's a lot of exposure for cheap," he said, adding that Google is "doing a ton of tracking on this. They're using their own 1-800 numbers on this, and it forwards to our line." The Internet addresses of the online versions of the ads also redirect traffic through Google servers (*more redirects and cookies to track users are always a welcome obtrusion!).

Maximum PC's Oct. 5 edition also has a full page of Google ads. In addition, Inksite's Keen said Google ads were running in Mac Addict, but none could easily be found in the edition that went on sale last week. Keen suggested that Google may be experimenting with the idea of being an online advertising broker like "Google might be able to bring some benefits and additioanl exposure to small advertisers where it is too cost-prohibitive for them to get into major print" Keen said.

"Google Print Advertising is certainly a departure from AdWords and Pay Per Click models, but it might turn out as a good thing for the newspaper industry."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Google Sued Over PageRank ???

KinderStart sues Google over zero PageRank Score.
This story is almost funny and is not a Halloween prank.

Google's PageRank site ranking system is being thrown into question by lawsuit.
Small website gets demoted to zero PageRank and cries foul.

Google is being sued by a small parenting website, KinderStart, for downgrading the site’s Page rank to a score of: “zero”.

Federal judge, Jeremy Fogel of a US District Court in California, is being asked to determine whether Google defamed KinderStart by leaving it out of its search system, or whether the company is allowed to choose which site it ranks and features.

KinderStart alleges not just defamation, but violations of free speech and libel in its lawsuit.

Judge Fogel, however, in his opening statements, is unsure if the allegations show grounds for defamation, saying, “Assuming Google is saying that KinderStart’s website isn’t worth seeing, why can’t they say that? That’s my question”.

The case isn’t going anywhere fast, as Judge Fogel said that he would need until the end of the year to make a ruling about whether the case should go forward or be dismissed.

Google’s fighting its corner zealously, with one of its lawyers, David Kramer, saying, “This is a case that challenges Google’s very right to operate. It is not a case about KinderStart’s free speech.

On a much related note this site description appears on
" ( is a user-friendly search engine specifically designed for everything related to pregnancy, parenting, child development, work-at-home parents, and young kids. It is the information source for parents, would be parents, teachers, caregivers or anyone interested in young children."

Also is running google AdWords in the top center of its homepage and it sure looks like one of this search engines primary goals is to secure click thrus on AdWords sponsored links and generate advertising revenues from Google.

The site is hoping users click sponsored links from Google. does not seem interested in serving relevant content or useful information to users and it looks as though this website's primary purpose is simply to generate PPC click thru revenues from Google.

Also in a matter of only a few clicks our team finds redirects, duplicate content from duplicate sites and other suspicious website tactics throughout the site.

Rather than call the litigators and sue looking for cash settlements, how about creating a unique website that serves users with anything other than Google sponsored advertising.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Amazon Ducks Google

Internet Marketing sources are reporting that Amazon is fighting off legal requests from Google and is taking steps to avoid getting pulled into copyright lawsuits challenging the Google Library Project of digitalizing books. Google has made several formal legal requests for internal Amazon documents in recent weeks. Amazon has refused to deliver any documents to date. Google claims the Amazon documents, metal stampings and system data are needed to help fend off new lawsuits from publishers and authors, but Amazon yesterday moved to sidestep the Google requests in court.

Amazon says Google is trying to get confidential information, possibly millions of process documents, on how it sells books and the Amazon searching and indexing functions -- all for a new Google project designed to compete directly with Amazon.

As the Google stock price and profit lines continue to surge investors are rumbling that Google has its sights set on etailing books as a key component of Google's expansion plans. "Google's enthusiasm to sell books stems in part from a belief that continue fueling their rapid rise Google will expand beyond Froogle and online advertising and expand into other, more lucrative markets such as e-commerce, which -- excluding travel and cruise sites -- is expected to pull in $104.9 billion in the U.S. this year alone."

Google continues to deny all rumors related to music etailing or flowers but remains tight-lipped regarding any new ecommerce models designed to sell books online.


Our Michigan SEO company an occasion publishes Michigan Business News and information. Recent developments and policy revisions are impacting Michigan Business Insurance Coverage. State Representative Peter Hoekstra a Republican senator from Holland, Michigan will host forums for Michigan business owners seeking information on health insurance. The forums will also explain recent changes to the Michigan Medicare program and profile Michigan health insurance plans being offered by Priority Health on the west side of the state of Michigan.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Google Revenue Jumps 70%

original post emailed from emarketing newsletter

While competitor Yahoo, reporting a 38% drop in revenue, echoes doubt about the sustainability of online advertising, Google is rolling out the barrel.

Google reports that its third quarter revenue has risen to $2.69 billion.

That amounts to 70% greater than 2005, and 10% more than last quarter, exceeding Wall Street expectations. $1.63 billion of that came from ads on Google-owned sites, while $1.04 came from its AdSense program. 44% of revenue came from non-US sources. The revenue jump caused Google’s net income to increase by 92%.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt attributes the recent success to a number of factors, including strategic partnerships. “We were particularly pleased with the contributions of our international business in a seasonally weaker quarter. In addition, we continued to forge significant partnerships with companies such as eBay, Fox Interactive Media, and Intuit that will be of great value to all involved.”

He also called the purchase of YouTube the “ultimate partnership” in a conference call to analysts and emphasized the importance to Google of video advertising and partnerships with video content providers.


Additional Thoughts

Google remains dedicated to keyword search. The design of the Google homepage remains primarily dedicated to keyword search. Google continues to be rewarded for this exclusivity and for delivering users what they want uncluttered, content-relevant search results.

Yahoo, MSN, and so many other so-called leading search engines are still too busy trying to be all things to all users. Their homepage design is cluttered and crowded and their search results delivery systems are still quite weak, in comparison to Google.

Google embraced search and grew with the second most popular internet activity. Other players in the online marketing industry are still scrambling to connect with millions of users.

Google’s dedication to keyword search, the most effective form of online advertising and quite possibly, the most effective form of all advertising mediums is the glue to their success.

Dedication to and understanding of the keyword search medium, factored with confused and strung out competitors, could make Google the top company in the world.

That said, every company has a downside, even Google, as Click fraud continues to escalate. Senior executives at Google have to address click fraud and suspect web advertising activities from many of their partners, sooner rather than later. The days of ignoring click fraud and sweeping it under the rug are rapidly coming to a close.

As budget allocations increase expectations and requirements also rise. Google clients need new click fraud quality controls that protect their ROI and ensure that recent SEM budget windfalls are sustainable for years to come.

Posted by Jack Roberts | 2:21 pm on October 20, 2006

Click Here to View the Original Blog Post

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yahoo Panama Update Continues to Roll Out

The long rumored Yahoo Panama update is gradually rolling out at Yahoo search. The Organic SEO engineering team here at Peak Positions has noticed many irrelevant organic/natural search results in the Yahoo results over the last 10 days. The Yahoo search engineering team has confirmed that they are working hard on converting the organic Yahoo search results pages over to more of a robot-spider controlled search system. The organic search conversion involves moving further away from the old Yahoo directory listings and this Panama Quality Purge is expected to take at least a few more weeks for all of the Yahoo search datacenters to fully synchronize to a cleaner, more accurate and content relevant, keyword query search system expected to fully resolve out: on/or about Nov 14, 2006.

More confirmation that Yahoo Panama is underway here in 4th qtr. 2006 versus many earlier reports that Yahoo would wait until 1st qtr. 2007 arrived in a Yahoo press release tonight. Yahoo has to move aggressively on many fronts in a rapid effort to stem click fraud, curb Google's market share dominance, legally respond to the recent CheckMate PPC lawsuit settlement, and also to combat their falling share price.

In short, Yahoo has peformed poorly for shareholders most of this year and needs to finish 2006 on an upbeat note to calm the stromy seas and stunt the negativity movement in Sunnyvale and senior management's hopes are that this Yahoo Panama project can ignite some much needed postivie buzz for YHOO in the holiday months and hopefully carry over to kick start 2007.

We have posted the latest upgrade announcement from Yahoo paid search below:

Earlier this year, we announced that a completely redesigned marketing platform is on its way, full of advanced, easy-to-use features that will help you better connect with Yahoo!'s vast and valuable audience. We wanted to take a moment to provide you with an update on the availability of the new Sponsored Search.

We've begun inviting U.S. advertisers to upgrade their accounts. We've been thoroughly testing our systems to help ensure a quality experience once advertiser accounts are upgraded, and we are now beginning the process of inviting advertisers to upgrade their accounts.*

Invitations will be sent in stages to U.S. advertisers over the remainder of the year and early next year. You'll also be able to access a preview of what your account will look like after the upgrade. This preview can help you become familiar with the features and the layout of the new control panel, called the Yahoo! Marketing Solutions center. If you're happy with your preview, we encourage you to upgrade your Yahoo Paid Search account as soon as possible. This will help ensure that your upgraded account closely resembles the preview. Advertisers that are invited to upgrade before the end of the year may choose to do so after the holidays, to avoid any disruption during this important time. If, however, you can't wait to get your hands on the new Sponsored Search, you can request that your upgrade date be scheduled as early as possible by filling out the Online Request Form.

Many resources will be available to help you make a smooth transition. We've created an extensive Upgrade Center to assist you during the transition. Full of tips, tutorials and FAQs, the Upgrade Center will walk you through all of the new features within the Yahoo! Marketing Solutions center, as well as the best practices for managing your new Sponsored Search account. We'll also be launching the Yahoo! Marketing Solutions blog soon, to provide you with timely information about the new Sponsored Search, as well as inside tips from our own online marketing specialists and much more. You can find all of these resources by visiting the Upgrade Center.

The bid information displayed within your current account will soon change. As advertisers upgrade their accounts, their bids will no longer be reflected in the current system. To ease this transition and help provide you with accurate bidding information, in approximately six to eight weeks (approx. Nov. 14) you will see two new data points on the Manage Bids page: First, you will see a bid range for prime placement. This bid range will tell you what advertisers are currently bidding for the spots at the very top of the search results page for each keyword (Example: $8.75 - $6.25). Second, you'll see an estimate of your average position for each listing. Each time you enter a new bid this estimate will change, so you'll be able to tell where your listing is likely to appear for a given bid. Once these two new pieces of information become available, you'll no longer see the Top 5 Max Bids column displayed in your account.

Please note that there will be no change to the way listings are ranked for the remainder of 2006; they will continue to be ranked by bid as they are today. Early next year, we will change the way ads are ranked, taking ad quality into account (by spidering PPC landing pages for content relevance), as well as by bid. More detailed information will be provided regarding this change before it occurs.

New Terms and Conditions will take effect once your account is upgraded. Once you've upgraded, your account will be governed by a new set of advertiser Terms and Conditions. Review the new terms and conditions.

We hope you are as excited about the new Sponsored Search as we are. Bringing this powerful new marketing platform to you is just the first step towards helping you better connect to the Yahoo! audience. So please be on the lookout for more information about this important change and be sure to visit the new Upgrade Center to learn more. You may also contact us at - Tel: 866-YAHOO-98 (866-924-6698) if you have questions.


Your Partners at Yahoo! Search Marketing

*The new Sponsored Search will roll out to advertisers in the U.S. market first. Details regarding international availability of the new Sponsored Search will be made available at a later date.

Peak Positions encourages many sites, especially Ecommerce sites to consider upgrading their Yahoo Paid Search account in the coming days for maximum exposure in the 2006 holiday shopping season.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Google Makes Stock Purchase of YouTube

Google agrees to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion

Google agreed to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock in a deal that unites one of the Internet’s marquee companies with one of its rising stars.

The deal would be by far Google’s most expensive in its eight-year history. The lofty price underscores how important Google expects online video to become as more viewers and advertisers migrate from television to the Internet.

While it has been able to extend its lead in the lucrative search market, Google hasn’t been able to become a major player in online video.

“This gives Google the video play they have been looking for and gives them a great opportunity to redefine how advertising is done,” said Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li.

Several other suitors, including Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc. and News Corp., reportedly have discussed a possible YouTube purchase in recent weeks.

“This deal looks pretty compelling for Google,” said Standard & Poor’s analyst Scott Kessler said. “Google has been doing a lot of things right, but they are not sitting on their laurels.”

Google’s YouTube coup may intensify the pressure on Yahoo to make its own splash by buying, the Internet’s second most popular social-networking site. Yahoo has reportedly offered as much as $1 billion for Palo Alto-based Facebook during months of sporadic talks.

“Yahoo really needs to step up and do something,” said Roger Aguinaldo, an investment banker who also publishes a dealmaking newsletter called the M&A Advisor. “They are becoming less relevant and looking less innovative with each passing day.”

Selling to Mountain View-based Google will give YouTube more technological muscle and advertising know-how, as well as generate a staggering windfall for a 67-employee company that was running on credit card debt just 20 months ago.

Since 20-something buddies Chad Hurley and Steve Chen founded the company in February 2005, YouTube has blossomed into a cultural touchstone that shows more than 100 million video clips per day. The video library is eclectic, featuring everything from teenagers goofing off in their rooms to William Shatner singing “Rocket Man” during a 1970s TV show. The clips are submitted by users.

While most videos posted on YouTube are homemade, the site also features volumes of copyrighted material (illegal distribution of copyrighted material) — a problem that has caused some critics to predict the startup eventually would be sued into oblivion, much like the once popular music-sharing site Napster.

But Hurley, 29, and Chen, 27, have spent months cozying up with major media executives in an effort to convince them that YouTube could help them make more money by helping them connect with the growing number of people who spend most of their free time on the Internet.

That trend propelled YouTube’s worldwide audience to 72.1 million through August, up from 2.8 million a year earlier, according to comScore Media Metrix. How do these usage numbers compare with Napster and Baidu who provided free downloads of copyrighted music?) YouTube’s conciliatory approach with major media has recently yielded several licensing and promotional agreements that have eased some of the copyright concerns while providing the company with some financial breathing room until it becomes profitable.

To conserve money as it subsisted on $11.5 million in venture capital, YouTube had been based in an austere office above a San Mateo pizzeria until recently moving to more spacious quarters in nearby San Bruno.

As its negotiations with Google appeared to near fruition, YouTube on Monday announced new partnerships with Universal Music Group, CBS Corp. and Sony
BMG Music Entertainment. Those alliances followed a similar arrangement announced last month with Warner Music Group Inc.

The truce with Universal represented a particularly significant breakthrough because the world’s largest record company had threatened to sue YouTube for copyright infringement less than a month ago.

Li and Kessler expect even more media companies will be lining up to do business
with YouTube if it’s bought by Google as more revenue channels develop.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Google to Adjust Search Results Pages To Drive Product Sales this Holiday Season.

Just in Time for the Holiday Rush Google Will Boost Product Searches. This holiday season Google will roll out enhancements of Google Base that help shoppers refine search queries.

Google plans to extend the product search capabilities on its main Web search engine in the fourth quarter, in time for the holiday shopping season.

A Google official shared the news with attendees of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance (PESA) Summit in San Francisco last week. When people search for products on, the system will present them with another search box so that they can refine their query. After people refine their query, Google will take them to a second page populated with product results from the Google Base listings service, Froogle listings and more.

"Keyword Ranking will be determined by the product attributes found in text nearest the product as well as by relevancy".

Currently, Google has no plans to monetize this product-search capability with display ads or additional Pay Per Click listing fees.

The plan also involves de-emphasizing Froogle as a destination Web site and moving its comparison-shopping capabilities to, because, as the Google official explained, most product searches happen on, according to the note. can already detect if someone is looking for real estate to buy, and asks users to refine their queries before delivering listings from Google Base. Thus, the plan outlined at the PESA conference would apparently be a significant extension of this existing feature toward multiple product categories.

Boosting Google Base
"Anything that improves product search and helps shoppers find what they want is always positive for merchants" said Jonathan Garriss, CEO of Gotham City Online, an apparel store on eBay that also has its own site.

From the beginning, Google has reported that Google Base is not a destination Web site, but instead a database that feeds information to Google search sites, like

A recent sign that Google was working on its product search was the removal of the link to Froogle on

"Everyone was surprised and Froogle's traffic immediately suffered.

Google has logically opted to present product listings via in a move to keep users on

"the comfort zone" for millions of internet users.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yahoo Warning of Slower Ad Growth In Some Categories, Rattling Investors.

From: Wall Street Journal

Yahoo Inc. executives warned online advertising growth appears to be slowing in some categories, prompting the Internet giant's shares to plunge more than 10% and triggering a broad selloff of technology stocks.

Yahoo has rattled investors with bad news several times this year.

Some market analysts said it made sense that online advertising should be subject to the same cyclical ups and downs as the traditional ad market, while others said Yahoo competitors -- such as Google -- might not be as affected.

Senior Yahoo executives report that like most advertising mediums search has seen growth weaken in ads from automotive and financial services companies in recent months and the future is too cloudy to project whether or not the advertising slowdown will spill over into other categorees.

Advertising from key categories are "still very meaningful, Chief Executive Terry Semel told investors at a Goldman Sachs conference. "They're still growing but they're not growing as quickly as we might have hoped at this point in time."

Yahoo, Google Inc. and others have thrived in recent years as advertisers have redirected advertising dollars to target consumers on the Web via search marketing and Pay Per Click keyword advertising. Spending on online ads has surged from $6 billion in 2002 to $12.5 billion last year and is on pace to set a new record this year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry group.

Shares of Yahoo tumbled on the news, dropping more than $3 dollars to $25 and change on the Nasdaq Stock Market Iwe remember when Yahoo split shares at the $280 range in the early days). The news weighed hard on Google as the search leader lost more than $10 dollars a share in today's trading.

The search advertising slowdown in the last two to four weeks, "is having an impact on our quarter," said Yahoo's Chief Financial Services Officer Susan Decker, and will likely lead Yahoo to "deliver in bottom half of the range" of its third-quarter estimates. In July, Yahoo expected third-quarter revenue to fall between $1.11 billion and $1.22 billion, excluding commissions paid to search marketing affiliate (spam) third party partners.

"Whether this is temporary, or whether this spills over into other keyword categories, we just don't know,'' Ms. Decker said. ``We're going to watch and wait.''

She cited "budget adjustments'' among advertisers in the auto and financial categories. Faced with shrinking market share and declining profit margins, General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group are in the midst of wrenching restructurings and have recently announced more production cuts and layoffs.

**True, however notice how Yahoo failed to mention Click Fraud, the recent click fraud settlement in the Checkmate case, and the oncoming Yahoo Panama search results page overhaul as Yahoo revises both paid and organic/natural search results in the coming weeks. Search advertisers are not fond of allocating huge budgets to suspect advertising vehicles filled with click fraud and also heistate to advertise on ever changing landscapes that create user confusion. Large PPC advertisers are freezing Yahoo spends and trying to determine the new return on investment that Pay Per Click advertising presents.

**Many large companies are also turning more towards organic/natural website optimization programs seeking keyword endorsements of their content and increased keyword ranking positions in the trusted and favored organic/natural search results.

As search adverttisers become more aware of the habits of searchers, one constant SEM reality continues to surface: searchers prefer organic listings 7 to 1 over paid.

Organic optimization also provides fixed costs with long-term benefits vs. the temporary keyword band-aids provided by frenzied Pay Per Click advertising campaigns.

Yahoo does remain one of the top Internet destinations, however it continues to lose search market share . In August, Yahoo claims to have handled more than 28% of U.S. Web searches, second only to Google, which according to Yahoo handled just over 44% of the search market, according to comScore Networks. Yet search advertisers are analyzing their server logs more often and more accurately and now realize that traffic to their websites from Yahoo is typically less than 20% of all traffic and Google represents closer to 70% of referrer traffic. This is causing search advertisers to shift more of the PPC budgets to Google. Also click fraud and recent click fraud lawsuits settlements and scandals are causing advertisers to tighten their PPC/SEM spending levels across the board.

Yahoo also brought user email to the Yahoo homepage in an effort to retain and convert more page views from Yahoo email account holder.

New studies demonstrate that some companies were relying too heavily on costly PPC advertisements that run alongside search results, and the PPC charges were increasing on an almost daily basis.

The cautious comments and recent onslaught of design changes are the latest setbacks for Yahoo investors, who have seen the stock fall about 35% so far in 2006. The company's shares plunged in January after Yahoo's fourth-quarter profit missed analysts' expectations. In July, the stock dropped another 22% in a single day after Yahoo delayed the release of much-anticipated improvements to its search advertisement systems.

On Tuesday, Ms. Decker, asked about Yahoo's expectations for the Yahoo project, known as "Yahoo Panama," again declined to offer any specific forecast, but did say, "We see significant upside to rolling out Panama sooner rather than later." The new Panama system, which is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2007 in some circles by October 2006, lets Yahoo optimize ad placement based on numerous factors, including relevancy. It's current system ranks ads based on price alone. "We feel really good about what it can do," Ms. Decker said.

Look for Yahoo Panama rollouts in the coming days and weeks not months. Yahoo can no longer afford to wait as the debt load is running too high. Yahoo is in serious need of cash now as several recent interest rate increases have increased the debt load to near record highs.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New comScore Keyword Search Market Share Numbers.

Google dips ever so slightly the first decline in GOOG's short history.

Are MSN and Yahoo ready for battle or will the new Google MySpace partnership create a web popularity monster?

Will a predator partnership pay off?

The most recent recent search engine market share figures are out, and Google's nearly historic rise in search market share gains has apparently ended.

Here are the latest figures from All keyword searches within the United States:

July 2006 comScore Report

#1) Google
Searches Per Day: 91.8 Million
Market Share: 43.7%

#2) Yahoo
Searches Per Day: 60.5 Million
Market Share: 28.8%

#3) MSN
Searches Per Day: 26.9 Million
Market Share: 12.8%

#4) AOL
Searches Per Day: 12.4 Million
Market Share: 5.9%

#5) Ask
Searches Per Day: 11.3
Market Share: 5.4%

All Other Search Engines:
Searches Per Day: 7.1
Market Share: 3.4%

The comScore Search figures do not include Yellow Page searches or Map searches.

Other leading web analytics sources such as: WebSideStory, Hitbox, and more report keyword search market shares as this:

Google 60.2%
Yahoo 21.3%
MSN Search 11.8%
AOL 3.8%

Other Keyword Search Facts.

Big (4) Search Engines Total Percentage of Search: 97.1%

Percentage of Unique Site Visitors Delivered to a website for the first time from one of the Big (4) Search Engines: 87%.

Percentage of Organic/Natural Search Results on the Big (4) Search Engines Determined by Spiders/Robots: 100%.

Looking to Maximize Website Awareness with In-Market Internet Users?

Optimize your site for each of the algorithms powering the spiders of the Big (4) Search Engines.

According to comScore Yahoo is gaining market share throughout 2006 rising from low 24% to 28%.

Is Google losing market share to Yahoo? not really, both Yahoo and Google are gaining share at MSN and AOL's expense.

AOL lost more than a full percentage point as account cancellations continued to pour in at AOL (*other than wall street who can trust any numbers provided AOL-Time Warner, a failed merger that still stands as the largest failed corporate merger in business history*) and MSN also dropped nearly a full percentage point, while Ask also lost some of its already small search market share.

Let's also consider the newcomer to search: MySpace.
MySpace keeps fulfilling so many expanding visions on so many fronts, now even driving huge volumes of keyword search traffic to other search engines, that power the grouped MySpace results. MySpace generates nearly 100 million searches a month. Sources now claim that MySpace keyword searches total 5% of all Internet searches and that nearly 8% of all search results delivered by Google originate from users who originally began their keyword query on MySpace. The MySpace search numbers could help expalin Google's mysterious last minute motivations to invest heavily in MySpace just last month. Google's $900 million dollar upfront investment with MySpace might have been an effort to keep the sultry MySpace search traffic from being gobbled up by the suddenly search hungry; Micorsoft and also snatch MySpace searchers away from Yahoo (the shunned MySpace search partnership favorite) who was/is powering most of the MySpace search results to date.

Can these latest comScore search figures be trusted? maybe.

Keep in mind, comScore's many correction notices involving search figures already in 2006, it most likely would serve you best to consider these search numbers as a fairly accurate gauge in the incredibly popular and still emerging keyword search landscape. Also any Google search market share losses being reported could simply be headline fodder for comScore. Most server log files are still reporting Google as their leading website referrer by nearly a two thirds majority.

Have You Analyzed Your Server Log Files Lately?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tech Rumors Flying Eric Schmidt to Join Apple Board

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is rumored to be near a seat on the board of Apple Computer.

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs has been recruiting Schmidt in an effort to extend Apple's relationships and synergies with Tech titans.

Other technology chiefs on Apple's board include the likes of: Intuit, Genentech, and Forbes Media (Global Warming Expert and Internet Creator) Al Gore also sits on Apple's board they must sit him next to major shareholder Forrest Gump at board meetings.

Eric Schmidt Google's hand-picked leader since 2001 holds a computer science Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and used to work at Sun Microsystems and Xerox.

More rumors have Google and Apple joining in a new IPOD hybrid music/video product offering although GOOG continues to downplay interest in any music ventures.

If the Appple board seat plays out for Schmidt it could send mixed messages to Round Rock Texas, as the new Dell/Google computer product line and revenue share deals have yet to roll out in the marketplace.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Outsourcing Organic Search Engine Optimization? Make Sure Your SEO Vendor Keeps All Project Work Inside.

Is Your SEO Vendor Outsourcing Your Search Engine Optimization Project?

As the number of companies offering search engine optimization services continues to grow, the quality of Organic/Natural SEO services being provided is rapidly declining.

One recent development in the SEO field that compromises the integrity of our industry is the outsourcing of the organic/natural seo portion of the SEM contract to the lowest bidder, usually an inexperienced overseas firm.

Many advertising agencies and large marketing firms have recently created a "Full-Service SEO/SEM Division" and quickly discovered that unlike SEM that involves simple management of keyword bids and delivery of high margin invoices for working with SEM Admin Tools, Organic SEO is time and labor intensive.

Organic/Natural SEO is quite labor-intensive and requires specialized skill sets.

Clients with larger websites (and in the most need of experienced and skilled organic seo specialists) actually present the lowest margins to many "Full Service SEM/SEO shops", if the Organic SEO portion is too complicated in scope the man-hours involved chew up any profit margin.

Shifting expensive man-hours and reducing labor costs off-shore, increase project profits. That is why outsourcing Organic/Natural SEO is becoming more popular than ever, especially with marketing firms now offering Low Grade Search Engine Optimization Services for one singular purpose: TO RUN OUT THE NEAREST DOOR WITH MORE CLIENT CASH!!!.

New overseas firms are springing up to help many SEM/SEO marketing agencies by assuming the: costly manual labor that SEO services require.

Check out this blind partnership request we received from an overseas vendor with $3.00 an labor at the ready. Here's the message we received complete with mysterious language parameters.

Many times the software programs used to create text by these off shore firms acutally populates website content in similar fashion, some sort of new hybrid language that confuses spiders and users and only works to reduce keyword rankings.

Here's today's email message:

We offer services of top-level professionals only. Delhi and Pune are well-known for being a center of programming and software outsourcing services. There are dozens of technological universities in Delhi, educating thousands of software and website deve

We have very good setup for offshore development in Delhi [India] with very less overheads that's why we are able to provide the cheapest rates. We have everything for development center like 24 hours electricity backup,good internet connection with backu

We are already working with two USA based company as an SEO offshore development center. As per our understanding we make a SEO team with four person [one SEO + two Link builder + one content writer]. One Project manager is needed on above 3 SEO teams.


??? what ???

We receive these types of blind SEO outsource offers daily.

As the text of message above states many SEO firms are in over their heads and are outsourcing SEO project work to try and minimize man-hours and retain margin on projects.

Do all that you can to ensure that your full-service SEM/SEO provider is not shipping the SEO portion of your contract overseas to these type of firms offering inexperienced, cheap, foreign labor.


We would like to issue this reminder regarding Peak Positions, LLC.

As a market leader in Organic/Natural SEO, demand for Peak Positions SEO services and our time has never been greater.

Peak Positions keeps all of our SEO projects 100% in-house, to ensure quality and we also provide only OUR exclusive, proven SEO capabilities as agreed to with each and every client.

Outsourcing Organic/Natural SEO is a losing proposition for all websites involved.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dynamic Site Struggling to Attain Top Organic Search Positions?

Google Says: Do Not use &id= in your URLs.

Matt Cutts at Google posted this "SEO Design Nugget" recently and site deisgners everywhere are hoppin' mad:

Here is what Matt Cutts from Google published:

> Minimize the number of redirects and URL parameters.

> Limit URL Parameters to 1-2 whenever possible.

> Don’t use “&id=” in the URL for anything other than a session ID.

> Since &id= typically represents a session ID, we at Google treat it as such and usually don’t include these URLs in the index.

Can it be made any more clear?

&id= in URLs is "lazy-man page coding" that Googlebot would rather ignore.

Related Comments from the Peak Positions SEO Lab:

> Don't Shoot the Messenger: finally a senior engineer at Google confirms the truth and the web design community "guns him down". Why not get to work accomodating Googlebot spiders instead of fighting them.

The session ID tag does not need to be part of the URL.

Sessions can be tracked server side with the IP address.

Hand Code HTML whenever possible.

Pay attention to W3C HTML Validation.

Outsource database SEO services to a proven specialist that can hand-craft page code and parameters to make data mining and content acquistion easy for the search engine spiders that control the organic search results.


Monday, August 07, 2006

AOL Caves and Releases Keyword Search Data and Client Information to the Government.

AOL released the keyword search terms that more than 650,000 of its subscribers entered over a three-month period and admitted Monday that what it originally intended as a gesture to researchers amounted to a privacy breach and a mistake.

Although AOL urged that substituted numeric IDs for the subscribers' real user names, the company acknowledges that the keyword search queries themselves may contain personally identifiable data.

For example, many users type their names to locate their phone, credit card or Social Security numbers. A few days later, these same users may search for dry cleaners or restaurants in their neighborhoods, revealing their locations, or possibly search by keyword phrase for prescription drug prices, revealing their personal medical conditions. AOL admits the data that they released links all of the search data by user together in one numeric user ID.

AOL apologized for the keyword search history disclosure last week.

"This was a screw up, and we're angry and upset about it," said an AOL spokesman. "It was an innocent attempt to help the academic community with new keyword research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped."

The recent disclosure by AOL comes as the Time Warner Inc. unit tries to increase search advertising revenues, usage of AOL keyword search services and other free, ad-supported features to offset a decline in subscriptions, a drop likely to accelerate with its recent decision to give away free e-mail accounts and software.

AOL also announced it will lay off 5,000 employees by October 2006 as the company continues to spiral out of control.

AOL ranks fourth in search, behind Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft's MSN according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Although AOL does recieve keyword search fill results and small keyword search ad subsidies from Google, which now owns 5 percent of AOL, is still trying to get users to search directly on AOL sites in hopes of distracting them with an ad-supported video or two.

Industry executives are now pleading with Google and other major search engines to release keyword search history and data per user.

AOL search released data and information on what keyword search phrases were used, when the search was conducted and which results page link was clicked by user.

AOL released 19 million keyword search queries from 660,000 AOL subscribers from March 1 to May 31, 2006. The keyword search data only included searches conducted in the United States by AOL monthly subscribers.

AOL, like other search engines, does make historical keyword search data by user available to law-enforcement authorities with subpoenas. AOL complied with a Justice Department request for keyword search queries to revive a law meant to shield children from online pornography and collected a fee upon release of the information.

Google, on the other hand, fought the subpoena, and a judge ultimately ruled that Google did not have to turn over specific keyword search requests.

*Will Google Sue AOL for this most recent profit driven error in judgement?.

A display in the lobby of Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., continually scrolls some of the keyword searches being conducted through its site. The Google keyword search data can only be viewed only by people physically in Google's offices, and multiple keyword searches by the same user are not linked.

*Will AOL subscribers sue AOL for this error in judgement?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Google CEO Eric Schmidt Speaks Out on Click Fraud

Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes there is a “perfect economic solution” to click fraud: “let it happen.”

PPC Advertisers reeling from bogus clicks in their Google AdWords Pay Per Click accounts are finding little comfort from Google's top brass. Google's stance on Click Fraud remains unchanged for more than (4) years -- "Don't Ask Don't Tell" the work continues on finding a solution.

Google's admission of click fraud and their CEO's stunning admission that nothing will be done to curb click fraud is amazing. It appears that Google's refusal to address click fraud in the AdWords system is rooted in real world economics.

Some Industry sources suggest that Google may not motivated to stem click fraud.

All of this recent press concerning click fraud onlys heightens the importance of organic search engine optimization. Clicks garnered from organic/natural search results are free and serve as an endorsement of a websites content.

To read the full article on Eric Schmidt's AdWords Clcik Fraud Comments from ZDNET visit:

In the article, Google CEO Eric Schmidt discussed how the AdWords pay-per-click advertising model is inherently “self-correcting” in regards to click fraud during a Stanford University event last March. Schmidt extolled the enhanced trackability of the online pay per click advertising model versus pay per impression models, while acknowledging “smart but evil” people try to “go around the system.”

According to Schmidt, Google’s auction-based pay-per-click advertising model is inherently self-correcting: " Eventually, the price that the advertiser is willing to pay for the conversion will decline, because the advertiser will realize that these are bad clicks, in other words, the value of the ad declines, so over some amount of time, the system is in-fact, self-correcting. In fact, there is a perfect economic solution to click fraud which is to let it happen".

Schmidt’s “perfect economic solution” analysis for click fraud suggests that any Google charges to advertisers for fraudulent clicks would naturally be viewed by Google advertisers as a “cost of doing business” with Google, to be factored into advertiser ROI calculations.

I discuss such an advertiser acceptance of click fraud based charges as a cost of doing business, rather than as a potentially deceptive business practice, in “Click Fraud: deceptive business practice, or cost of doing business.”

Schmidt indicates, however, that Google engineers think it is “great fun” to try and get ahead of click fraud:



But because it is a bad thing, because we don’t like it, because it does, at least for the short-term, create some problems before the advertiser sees it, we go ahead and try to detect it and eliminate it.

Part of what we do is we try to decrease the time, and increase the rate, at which the auction automatically detects that this is a bad click, naturally.


Is Google asking AdWords advertisers to accept "Click Fraud" and factor it into their advertising budgets ?

What long term winning strategy is this?

Is this the best solution that Google, the world's 10th largest and fastest growing company can provide?

Budget for Fraud ?

Eric Schmidt must have been joking or taken completely out of context. Hopefully active Google advertisers share in this humor. Google officical post on Click Fraud and their clarification on CEO Eric Schmidt's (company clarifications of executive statements are never a good sign) can be found here:

(or full link:

In summary it appears that Eric Schmidt CEO of Google made these statements:

1) Click Fraud in Google AdWords continues.

2) the value in advertising with Google declines over time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Google Opens New AdWords Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan

New Google office center to bring 1,000 badly needed high-tech jobs to the state of Michigan.

Google Co-Founder Larry Page a Michigan Native plays key role in selecting Ann Arbor vs. Boston.

Michigan's sputtering economy gets a big boost today when Google Inc., the high-flying Internet search engine giant, announces plans to hire up to 1,000 workers over the next five years for a new Ann Arbor AdWords facility.

California-based Google's decision to expand in Michigan, a state marred by the downturn in the automotive industry and hurt badly by the steady exodus of its best college graduates to more prosperous regions is excited about this timely technology win.

Google plans to create a headquarters facility for its Google AdWords unit. AdWords offers "pay-per-click" ads that are triggered when Google users search using keywords. AdWords is Google's core advertising product and is the primary source of revenue.

Google officials said they will start posting new Michigan SEO job openings for employment positions at the new Ann Arbor facility at:

The jobs will vary in skill demands and pay. The average salary for new hires is expected to be $47,000 a year.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm called the new Google Ann Arbor AdWords facility "a tremendous statement about Michigan having a cutting-edge workforce."

We have some of the leading search engine optimization firms in America right here in our before this morning's news conference, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority is expected to approve $38 million in Single Business Tax credits over 20 years for Google, whose development is expected to generate $165 million in tax revenue over that time.

As Google evaluates specific sites, it will work with local communities on other possible incentives to complement the MEGA tax credits.

"I don't know if there's a cooler company in America than Google," said James Epolito, chief executive officer of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. "They're looking for very skilled people at a time when we're trying to keep our kids in the state of Michigan."

The MEDC has been wooing Google ardently for about a year, ever since reports surfaced that the company was looking at Ann Arbor, Boston, Boulder, Colo., and the Phoenix area as possible sites for expansion.

David Fischer, Google's director of online sales and operations, said Monday that the company's focus is on hiring bright, motivated people.

"We worry less about experience than raw talent. We've had tremendous success hiring people straight out of universities, with majors from engineering to art history."

Google cofounder Larry Page, an East Lansing native and 1995 engineering graduate from the University of Michigan, was a major supporter of the decision to locate in Ann Arbor, Granholm said.

Google already has a small AdWords sales office in Southfield. No decision has been made yet on whether Google will build or lease space in Washtenaw County.

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., began in 1996 as a research project for Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were PhD students at Stanford University.

Today Google has 6,800 workers and is the world's largest Internet search company.
As of July 2007 Google shares are about $127 billion. That's nearly $50 billion more than the combined value of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG. Toyota Motor Corp.'s value is $171 billion.

It's hard to overstate the importance for Michigan of landing a major expansion of a company with the cutting edge cachet of Google. The declining fortunes of GM and Ford, along with the related bankruptcy filings of major automotive suppliers Delphi Corp., Collins & Aikman and Tower Automotive and more have hammered Michigan's economy.

Swedish-owned refrigerator manufacturer Electrolux closed its Greenville, Michigan plant and moved 3,000 jobs to Mexico this year. And along with neighboring Indiana and Ohio, Michigan is among the states with the greatest net loss of its college graduates to other states.

Although Michigan has had some successes during Granholm's first term -- new research operations promised by Toyota and Hyundai, plus the move of auto parts maker Borg-Warner's headquarters to Auburn Hills -- they've been obscured by the bad news.

If Michigan is to shed its Rust Belt image and avoid becoming an industrial backwater in the new global economy, it's clear that the state must diversify and emphasize the strength of its research universities in producing scientists and engineers.

Granholm has pushed those buttons hard in creating a $2-billion 21st Century Jobs Fund, aimed at creating and attracting growth of companies in life sciences, alternative energy and other high-technology fields.

"We see Michigan as an ideal location to recruit the best and brightest workers," said Fischer of Google.

If Google's experience in Michigan meets its expectations, the state couldn't ask for a better testimonial.

Some details above include snippets of a Free Press article in July 2006.

How Google AdWords works
• AdWords began in 2000. It is Google's flagship advertising product and its main source of revenue.

• AdWords offers pay-per-click advertising, where businesses specify the exact keywords that trigger their ads and name the maximum amount they are willing to pay per click.

• Competitors include Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter.

Google at a glance
Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Employees: 6,800

Founding: Stanford graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin met in 1995 and worked on a search engine that became Google in 1998. Google went public in 2004.

Mission: Google said its mission is to organize information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Name: Google is a play on googol, which is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

A look at the men who started Google
Larry Page
Age: 33
Education: Bachelor's degree in engineering, University of Michigan; master's degree in computer science, Stanford University. Graduated high school from Interlochen Academy (

Family: Page is the son of former Michigan State University computer science professor Carl Victor Page, Google's Web site says.

Trivia: While in Ann Arbor, Page built a printer out of Lego bricks.

Sergey Brin
Age: 32 Education: Bachelor's degree in mathematics and engineering, University of Maryland; master's degree in computer science, Stanford University

Family: He immigrated with his family to Maryland from Russia at the age of 6.

Trivia: Brin and Page are converting a used Boeing 767 jet for personal travel, one of the largest corporate jets in the world.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Advertising Age Blames Search Engines For PPC Click Fraud

Industry trade magazine says click fraud has major advertisers running scared of search advertising and seeking organic seo services.

Click Fraud Cost Advertisers $800 Million Last Year

Study Blames Search Engines for Lack of Vigilance

Original Article By Gavin O'Malley

Published By Advertising Age: July 05, 2006

NEW YORK ( -- Advertisers wasted $800 million on fraudulent clicks last year, according to market researcher Outsell, which conducted a study of 407 advertisers responsible for roughly $1 billion in ad spending. The study found that decreasing confidence in pay-per-click advertising is causing the industry to lose an estimated $500 million in potential pay-per-click spending.

The study was critical of search engines for failing to address click fraud, but Yahoo, MSN and Google insist they have been aggressive in their stance against it.

Slowed and stopped advertising

The study was critical of search engines for not being vigilant enough in stopping click fraud. Outsell found that 27% of advertisers have slowed or stopped their pay-per-click advertising because of suspected click fraud, including 16% who have stopped spending altogether. The average spending reduction is 33% of total pay-per-click spending. These advertisers estimate that 14.6% of the clicks they're billed for are fraudulent, Outsell reports, representing about $800 million in wasted spending in 2005.

Another 10% of advertisers have plans to cut their pay-per-click spending budgets and focus resources on organic search engine optimization, according to Outsell's findings.

Chuck Richard, Outsell VP and lead analyst, was particularly critical of the major search engines for what he sees as their failure to address the problem. "Google, Yahoo and MSN are stonewalling on click fraud, to their own and others' detriment," Mr. Richard stated in the report.

Representatives for Yahoo, Google, and MSN deny such accusations, insisting they have been aggressive in their stance against click fraud.

Google's alternative

Last month, Google began testing a cost-per-click ad alternative that only charges advertisers after their ads generate sales or qualified sales leads. Among other benefits, the new model will likely reduce cases of click fraud, which occur when ads are clicked on repeatedly to paint a false picture of their value. It's no small matter: Google paid $90 million in ad credits earlier this year to settle one click-fraud suit.

Just last week, a federal judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement in a lawsuit that accused Yahoo of not properly safeguarding advertisers from click fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles approved the settlement whereby Yahoo would pay $5 million in legal fees and offer credit or cash refunds to advertisers shown to be victims of click fraud since 2004.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dell and Google Anounce Partnership

Google Strikes Deal With Dell

reprinted from Wall Street Journal

Google Inc. and Dell Inc. have reached an agreement to install Google software on millions of Dell personal computers before they are shipped to users, said Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt.

Under a roughly three-year pact, Google, of Mountain View, Calif., would pay Dell to have its desktop software for searching the content of a user's hard drive and emails, and a Web browser search toolbar installed on the computers, according to people in the industry familiar with the matter. Dell would also set the default search engine for users to Google's offering, one of the sources said. Financial terms are not expected to be disclosed. Talks between Google and Dell were first reported in The Wall Street Journal in February.

PC Makers Team Up With Microsoft's Rivals
02/07/06The agreement would help circumvent some of Google's sticking points with Microsoft Corp.'s new Web browser to be released this year. The Web search company has complained that Microsoft is making it too difficult for users to change the default setting away from Microsoft's search engine. The Justice Department earlier this month said that Google's concerns were not founded.

By expanding its placement on PCs, Google will instantly gain a spot in front of millions of consumers, who industry analysts say are far more likely to use software and access Internet services if they are pre-loaded on PCs. People familiar with Google's thinking have said the deal with Dell wasn't designed exclusively to strike back at Microsoft, but rather to increase use of Google's services. Still, a tussle with Microsoft over the new Web browser settings increased Google's desire to win the Dell agreement, the people said.

For Dell, the agreement is an opportunity to boost revenue from software shipped on new computers. The world's largest PC maker, had set up a competitive bidding process for Internet companies who wanted the right to load their software on as many as 100 million new Dell PCs. Yahoo pulled out of the running, and then Google beat Microsoft, people familiar with the matter said.

Under the agreement, buyers of Dell PCs will have their browser home page set to a co-branded Dell and Google site, according to the industry sources. The two companies earlier this year publicly acknowledged offering that page and distributing Google software on new Dell PCs under a test agreement.

Stay Tuned as the Browser Wars between Microsoft and Google continue to heat up !!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Yahoo Ebay Merger Rumors Running Hot

Wall Street Sources Are Reporting That Yahoo and Ebay Will Join Forces Soon

Reprinted from Reuters with comments.

Speculation is rife on Wall Street that a big internet deal or alliance is in the works, with Google, Yahoo, eBay or Microsoft as possible partners - and a Yahoo-eBay partnership seen as most likely.

"A partnership or merger between eBay and Yahoo! is the most strategically feasible," a report authored by analyst Imran Khan and the JP Morgan internet team said.

"A combined company would have the leading position in auctions, communications, payments, graphical advertising, audience reach, and geographic breadth," the report said.

Silicon Valley insiders, high-tech bankers and financial analysts are giving new credence to potential merger deals, which fly in the face of common wisdom that the internet's rapid growth has always outweighed the logic of consolidation.

But internet growth is slowing and competition among the biggest companies - Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, eBay Inc and Microsoft Corp - is intensifying.

EBay stock is down 30 per cent on the year. Yahoo is off 20 per cent and Google down 10 per cent.

Google, which nearly doubled its revenues last year, is expected to grow 62 per cent this year. EBay is seen growing 30 per cent, down from 50 per cent two years ago, and Yahoo's growth is slowing at a similar pace.

EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said the company works very closely with all the major Web search providers - Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, but he declined to comment on any potential Yahoo tie-up.

EBay is one of the world's biggest buyers of Web search terms. It manages a portfolio of 15 million keywords on different search sites aimed at wooing bidders.

"We don't comment on rumours and speculation," Durzy said.

"We are talking to Yahoo and other companies all the time as part of our normal course of business."

Yahoo was not immediately available to comment.

The 56-page JP Morgan report weighs other scenarios, including the possibility that Microsoft Corp's MSN internet unit would strike a partnership with Yahoo. Google is viewed as likely to sit out big mergers and continue to go it alone, Imran argues, a view that many Wall Street analysts share.

Investors worry that gains by these companies are likely to come at the expense of one another, rather than through internet expansion, driving shares down this year.

Microsoft shares are off 12 per cent so far in 2006, hit by product delays as well as a recent move by the company to step up investment to better compete with Google and Yahoo.

Market share gains by Google are most frequently said to be driving the talk of partnerships or mergers.

On May 3, the Wall Street Journal newspaper carried a story that Microsoft's MSN unit was planning a stop-Google strategy by seeking to buy a stake in Yahoo.

Last week, Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel confirmed that his company had been approached by Microsoft to buy a piece of Yahoo's search business. He ruled out a deal for what he viewed as a centerpiece of Yahoo's strategy to sell Web advertising.

"I will not sell a piece of search -- it is like selling your right arm while keeping your left; it does not make any sense," Semel said in a public forum in New York last week where he was interviewed by The New Yorker magazine writer Ken Auletta.

He dismissed an outright merger between Microsoft and Yahoo, saying, "That conversation has never come up".

"For me the most interesting alignment would be putting together Yahoo and eBay," said analyst Scott Devitt of brokerage Stifel Nicolaus, but he cautioned: "These things tend to be discussed often and rarely occur".

The strengths of Yahoo and eBay are seen as complementary, with Yahoo in media and eBay in e-commerce. Yahoo's foreign strength is in Asia and eBay's is in Europe.

The most compelling scenario is an alliance where eBay uses Yahoo search to drive consumers to eBay auctions, Devitt said.

In return, Yahoo could take advantage of assets such as eBay's PayPal online payments franchise and the vast Skype Web telephone audience that eBay has acquired, he said.

EBay must tread carefully, however, so that it does not cut off ties to Google. As the world leader in Web search, eBay depends on Google search referrals for an increasing amount of its audience.

"I don't particularly find eBay in a position of power," Devitt said.

"EBay needs its relationship with Google."