Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Microsoft President Steve Ballmer Sees Many Growth Opportunities
reprint from Reuters
Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Tuesday the company sees growth opportunities in emerging countries and the shift to digital advertising.
At Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting, Ballmer said Microsoft's sales in "BRIC" countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- will grow to almost $3 billion in fiscal 2008 ending in June from about $1 billion three years ago.
It is still only a small percentage of Microsoft's estimated total revenue of close to $60 billion this year, but the company is working to increase revenue in those countries with new business models and better piracy control measures.
Ballmer reiterated the company's goal to be an advertising "powerhouse," saying that the $600 billion market for global advertising is moving to digital formats.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft surpassed even Wall Street's most bullish forecast with strong first-quarter earnings boosted by healthy demand for computers and the introduction of a new line of unique cufflinks and the hit video game title "Halo 3".
"We're confident that we can continue this momentum throughout this coming year," said Ballmer. "We're looking forward to a phenomenal holiday season."
At the meeting, Microsoft shareholders approved 10 directors to the board including eight independent members. At the board's recommendation, the shareholders also voted down two proposals, defeating one to stop doing business with governments that censor Internet use and another to establish a board committee for human rights.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates attended his last shareholder meeting as a full-time employee of the company he founded with childhood friend Paul Allen. Gates plans to switch to a part-time role at Microsoft in June, although he will remain the company's chairman.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Many Websites Lose Google PageRank Overnight
Google's Latest Update Targets Illegal Paid Links
The latest Google PageRank update has resulted in many popular blogs and news websites losing some PageRank overnight. The PageRank reduction appears to be a reaction to websites that use link-building schemes that are disallowed by Google.
Google webmaster guidelines encourage site owners not to participate in paid link schemes desgined to artifically inflate google organic keyword rankings. Google had yet to enforce the rule to date, but recently decided now was the time with the holiday shopping ecommerce rush rapidly approaching.
Some popular newspaper and magazine websites experienced a Google PageRank drop including the Washington Post and Forbes.com who both lost two full points of Google PageRank falling from a PageRank of 7 down to a 5 despite thousands of backlinks and their daily content publishing schedules.
Not all of the websites falling in PageRank were using or buying paid links. Some popular blogs lost Google PageRank as a result of being members of a blog network (Splogs) designed to serve Google AdWords and also deliver other paid links from multiple revenue generating sources other than Google. Many of these blogs (spam blogs/splogs) also had plenty of internal cross-links between sites and seemed to be creating volumes of blogs with similar minimal unique content designed primarily to increase backlinks and articifically boost and inflate google organic keyword rankings.
Google identified many of these blogs as members of an automated blog network filled with inappropriate linking strategies. Google's stance to date on link building communities is quite clear yet many publishers and marketing companies are determined to bend every rule possible and continue to implement and participate in bogus link schemes designed with one primary intent ... drive higher organic rankings in Google.
Here's Google's Clear Recommendations on Linking:
"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank."
Sure many link building techniques exist however if the links are part of a network of "bad neighborhood" why would anyone want to participate or associate their site with any low quality, non-relevant link networks.
The Google update appaears to be the first strict enforcement by Google of the Google webmaster guidelines on linking. As many Google editors have confirmed the number of linking schemes and paid link farms have exploded in the last year and have made delivering relevant search results much more difficult.
This recent action taken by Google to enforce their webmaster guidelines is only the first step as Google engineers report that they will be enforcing their webmaster guidelines much more diligently in the coming months. The Google search databases and indexes have been grwoing rapidly in recent months faster than ever in history and with this growth comes the daunting task of retaining high quality search results. In terms of Google Search Engine Optimization practices linking and link schemes is the first step in enacting more enforecement as more controls are also approaching with regards to "On Site Manipulation of the Google Algorithms" which will include more enforcement of sites that are selling link placement and offering paid link opportunities or a free pair of hannah montana tickets designed to manipulate the googlebot spiders first and serve users second.
In the case of some blogs losing PageRank, Google looks to have punished blogs that are promoting inappropriate link building techniques. Look for more PageRank updates from Google in the coming weeks.
Yahoo Natural Search - Results Update
Many Websites Lose Top Natural Ranking in Yahoo
Yahoo! has released an update to its natural search algorithm. The update began in late October. The last Yahoo update has been confirmed by Yahoo engineers.
Yahoo search released this statement "Over the last few days, we've been rolling out some changes to our crawling, indexing, and ranking algorithms. While we expect the update will be completed soon, as you know, throughout this process you may see some ranking changes and page shuffling in the index."
The Yahoo results update appears to be somewhat small when compared to Google's search update which targeted specific websites seen as infringing on Google's Terms Of Service TOS webmaster guidelines. It appears that Yahoo wantd to freshen up their search results and clean up their search decks.
Yahoo is attempting to increase content relevancy with their search results. Yahoo has launched the search assist to work more closely with keyword searchers to improve Yahoo search results. In conjunction with releasing a new algorithm update; Yahoo has also expanded Yahoo shortcuts and brought Yahoo images and video further out in front to display more prominently in their keyword search results pages.
Industry sources and some webmasters have been moaning and rumbling about the recent Yahoo search algortihm update. Her's an online forum post from one webmaster: "Every morning I check my Yahoo search results through a Keyword Ranking Tool and to my astonishment I found that 90% of my sites lost top keyword rankings in Yahoo. Many rankings had declined from top 3 into lower top 10 or fell deep into the top 50 and many of my previous top 10 rankings were barely holding on in the top 100 of Yahoo results."
After the Yahoo algortihm update, many websites appear to be falling fast in the Yahoo search results, but the recent updates and clean up of Yahoo search results should help searchers as the Yahoo natural search results finally appear as much more content relevant.
Shopping For Quality Organic SEO Services?
When planning to outsource organic seo services make sure your search engine optimization vendor keeps all work inside.
One recent development in our search engine optimization field is gaining in popularity and beginning to compromise the integrity of our emerging industry. Many full-service SEM firms now providing organic seo services are outsourcing the labor intensive organic seo services portion of SEM contracts to the lowest bidder, usually a new, inexperienced, organic seo services firm based overseas.
Many advertising agencies and large marketing firms have recently created a "Full-Service SEO/SEM Division" and quickly discovered that unlike SEM that can often involve quick management of free software tools resulting in large invoices, handsome margins, and profit taking opportunities. Organic SEO services can be time and labor intensive and requires proven skill sets, all factors that can reduce margins on full-service SEM projects.
Quality organic SEO services involve time, care, and specialized skill sets that require analysis and identification of the unqiue code and link structures that each domain presents. Once the analysis and identification stages are carried out, the process and procedures required to implement the code and link revisions are mapped out and the solutions are uploaded and executed. All of these organic seo services must transpire before actual promotion of the website begins with link building, blogging, publishing, and promotion of the domain(s) content.
Many time-intensive organic seo services are required to achieve keyword ranking success in the major search engines. Maintaining top organic search positions is also labor and time-intensive and lies ahead of the initial development phases.
Clients with larger websites powered either by a content management system or an ecommerce site controlled with dynamic database calls typically have the largest need for proven organic seo services. However to many ONE STOP SEM SHOPS bundling SEO/SEM services and focused on their bottom-line, the organic seo services portion of SEM contracts is viewed as requiring too many man-hours resulting higher expenses and lower returns.
In other words organic seo services can often become too labor and time intensive, taxing too many man-hours and runs the risk of chewing up SEM profit margins.
Outsourcing expensive man-hours and reducing labor costs by moving the organic seo services portion of SEM contracts off-shore could increase returns. That is why outsourcing organic SEO services is gaining in popularity, especially with search marketing firms that have only recently expanded their marketing solutions portfolio to also include organic seo services.
New, inexperienced, offshore organic seo serivces firms are springing up daily with the intent of partnering with many one-stop SEM marketing agencies in hopes of assuming the labor intensive portions of organic SEO services contracts.
Check out this blind partnership request we received from a new overseas based search engine optimization vendor offering $3.00 an hour labor at the ready. Here is the blind email message we received complete with misspellings and grammatical errors.
Many times the same software programs used to create email text by these off shore is used to optimize and publish website content in similar fashion, it's all some sort of new hybrid seo language (? consisting of broken english ... Dubbed: SPAMLISH ) that works to confuse both spiders and users, resulting in url relevancy score reductions and lower keyword rankings.
Here is a recent email message we received requesting an organic seo services outsourcing partnership:
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.
-- end of email --
I must say to learn of the possiblility of "very less overheads" was most appealing.
At Peak Positions we receive these types of blind SEO outsource offers daily, so do many of our top competitors and advertising agencies. Most of us proven organic seo services firms ignore and delete these blind emails daily.
Lately though it has become quite clear that some of our well known search engine optimization competitors have started outsourcing the organic seo services portion of large SEM agreements to unproven, inexperienced seo firms based far outside of the USA.
Several times in recent weeks we have started on new projects involving some top corporate b2b and b2c ecommerce sites that were previously being optimzed by some well-known, full-service SEM competitors. After cracking into the sites we are encountering glaring evidence of error-filled code. Much of the code produced appears to be the work of foreign-based, machine-driven software programs complete with frequent misspellings and loads of grammatical errors written in SPAMLISH.
In one case with the page code of a large Boston based healthcare provider the page code was masking paragraphs of grammatically incorrect text filled with repetitive and persistent keyword strings in (3) seperate languages. It's no wonder the site had been temporarily pulled from the Google organic listings and was working with Google for reinstatement.
If you are looking for a proven SEO firm to provide quality organic seo services make sure you receive assurances prior to engagement that the organic seo services included will all remain inside. Many indications are that some well known SEM firms could actually be pushing the organic seo services portion of large projects out the backdoor to minimize labor costs and maximize profit on projects.
Do all that you can to ensure that your organic SEO services provider is not shipping portions of your contract overseas to seo firms offering cheap, inexperienced, foreign labor.
As an experienced, market leader in the organic seo services field, demand for Peak Positions has never been greater. I want to reiterate that we keep all SEO projects inside. We do not play bait and switch with anyone. If we take on an organic seo services project we estimate man-hours, provide a fair quote, and manually apend linking structures and page code throughout. We do not mislead pending clients only to turn our backs upon agreement, turn out the organic seo services, crank up the Pay Per Click, cold calls and the self hyped marketing machine and run for more deposit slips. This is all great if you can sustain the model of gaining more new clients than you lose every week.
Our firm offers exclusive, proven, organic SEO services with customized deliverables for each and every client. That's how quality organic services are done. Every site is unique and needs unique care, attention, and customer serivce. That is why our clients rank, succeed, and keep coming back to us. That is why we have never sent a blind email to anyone and we do not make cold calls. Be careful when outsourcing for organic seo services and make sure your seo vendor is actually providing the time and labor intensive organic seo services portions of SEM agreement.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Looking For Higher Rankings in Google Organic?
Get Back To The Basics
Address Core Algorithm Principles and Drive Natural Keyword Rankings
Google Architecture Overview
Here's a high level overview of the Google spidering and algorithm ranking system and how it works ... and it involves so much more than links.
Most of Google is implemented in C or C++ for efficiency and can run in either Solaris or Linux.
In Google, the web crawling (downloading of web pages) is done by several distributed crawlers or bot agents known as Googlebot spiders.
There is a URLserver that sends lists of URLs to be fetched to the crawlers. Web pages fetched by googlebots are then sent to Google's storeserver. The storeserver then compresses and stores the web pages into a repository. Every web page has an associated ID number called a docID which is assigned whenever a new URL is parsed out of a web page.
The indexing function is performed by the indexer and the sorter. The indexer performs a number of functions. It reads the repository, uncompresses the documents, and parses them. Each document is converted into a set of word occurrences called hits. The hits record the word, position in document, an approximation of font size, and capitalization. The indexer distributes these hits into a set of "barrels", creating a partially sorted forward index. The indexer performs another important function. It parses out all the links in every web page and stores important information about them in an anchors file. This file contains enough information to determine where each link points from and to, and the text of the link.
The URLresolver reads the anchors file and converts relative URLs into absolute URLs and in turn into docIDs. It puts the anchor text into the forward index, associated with the docID that the anchor points to. It also generates a database of links which are pairs of docIDs. The links database is used to compute PageRanks for all the documents.
The sorter takes the barrels, which are sorted by docID and resorts them by wordID to generate the inverted index. This is done in place so that little temporary space is needed for this operation. The sorter also produces a list of wordIDs and offsets into the inverted index. A program called DumpLexicon takes this list together with the lexicon produced by the indexer and generates a new lexicon to be used by the searcher. The searcher is run by a web server and uses the lexicon built by DumpLexicon together with the inverted index and the PageRanks to answer queries.
Major Data Structures
Google's data structures are optimized so that a large document collection can be crawled, indexed, and searched with little cost. Although, CPUs, private student loans, and bulk input output rates have improved dramatically over the years, a disk seek still requires about 10 ms to complete. Google is designed to avoid disk seeks whenever possible, and this has had a considerable influence on the design of the data structures.
BigFiles are virtual files spanning multiple file systems and are addressable by 64 bit integers. The allocation among multiple file systems is handled automatically. The BigFiles package also handles allocation and deallocation of file descriptors, since the operating systems do not provide enough for our needs. BigFiles also support rudimentary compression options.
Repository Data Structure
The repository contains the full HTML of every web page. Each page is compressed using zlib. The choice of compression technique is a tradeoff between speed and compression ratio. We chose zlib's speed over a significant improvement in compression offered by bzip. The compression rate of bzip was approximately 4 to 1 on the repository as compared to zlib's 3 to 1 compression. In the repository, the documents are stored one after the other and are prefixed by docID, length, and URL as can be seen. The repository requires no other data structures to be used in order to access it. This helps with data consistency and makes development much easier; Google rebuilds all the other data structures from only the repository and a file which lists crawler errors.
The document index keeps information about each document. It is a fixed width ISAM (Index Sequential Access Mode) index, ordered by docID. The information stored in each entry includes the current document status, a pointer into the repository, a document checksum, and various statistics including doc scores. If the document has been crawled, it also contains a pointer into a variable width file called docinfo which contains its URL and title. Otherwise the pointer points into the URLlist which contains just the URL. This design decision was driven by the desire to have a reasonably compact data structure, and the ability to fetch a record in one disk seek during a search. Additionally, there is a file which is used to convert URLs into docIDs. It is a list of URL checksums with their corresponding docIDs and is sorted by checksum. In order to find the docID of a particular URL, the URL's checksum is computed and a binary search is performed on the checksums file to find its docID. URLs may be converted into docIDs in batch by doing a merge with this file. This is the technique the URLresolver uses to turn URLs into docIDs. This batch mode of update is crucial because otherwise Google must perform one seek for every link which assuming one disk would take more than a 7 weeks to cover the Google link dataset.
The lexicon has several different forms. The current implementation keeps the lexicon in memory on a machine with 256 MB of main memory. The current lexicon contains 14 million words (though some rare words were not added to the lexicon). It is implemented in two parts -- a list of the words (concatenated together but separated by nulls) and a hash table of pointers. For various functions, the list of words has some auxiliary information.
A hit list corresponds to a list of occurrences of a particular word in a particular document including position, font, and capitalization information. Hit lists account for most of the space used in both the forward and the inverted indices. Because of this, it is important to represent them as efficiently as possible. We considered several alternatives for encoding position, font, and capitalization -- simple encoding (a triple of integers), a compact encoding (a hand optimized allocation of bits), and Huffman coding. In the end we chose a hand optimized compact encoding since it required far less space than the simple encoding and far less bit manipulation than Huffman coding. Google's compact encoding uses two bytes for every hit. There are two types of hits: fancy hits and plain hits. Fancy hits include hits occurring in a URL, title, anchor text, or meta tag. Plain hits include everything else. A plain hit consists of a capitalization bit, font size, and 12 bits of word position in a document. Font size is represented relative to the rest of the document using three bits with 7 values as 111 is the flag that signals a fancy hit. A fancy hit consists of a capitalization bit, the font size set to 7 to indicate it is a fancy hit, 4 bits to encode the type of fancy hit, and 8 bits of position. For anchor hits, the 8 bits of position are split into 4 bits for position in anchor and 4 bits for a hash of the docID the anchor occurs in. This helps Google with limited phrase searching. Google uses font size relative to the rest of the document because when searching, you do not want to rank otherwise identical documents differently just because one of the documents is in a larger font.
Looking to Secure and Maintain Premium Keyword Rankings in Google?
Get Back to the Basics.
Address The Principles of the Algorithms.
At Google and Peak Positions Its All About Code!
Discover Algorithm Synchronization > an exclusive Peak Positions Technology.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Yahoo Manages Short Term Surprise
In founder Jerry Yang's first quarter as CEO, Yahoo! managed to surprise investors on the upside, by sending its stock up 9%. Although net income at Yahoo was down 5%, sales rose 12% driving quarterly net income to $1.8 billion before expenses. These earnings are much better than projected yet Yahoo the former undisputed kings of keyword search still face many challenges. Jerry Yang made sure to drive home that his mindset and focus is on the entire $45 billion online advertising market, not just keyword search a "lucrative subset of it".
Jerry Yang is stressing that Yahoo intends to be more active with "one-off services" around the world that will be cut off, much as Yahoo did in folding Yahoo Photos into Flickr, shutting down the revenue losing, resource draining, and clearly unpopular Yahoo Podcasts, as well as deemphasizing subscription-based music services and online tickets services in favor of ad-supported music programs.
Yahoo president Sue Decker says that Yahoo Panama, the much-delayed search ad system, is beginning to work. Revenue per search category was up 20%. And display ad revenue was also up 20% a rare acceleration after more than a 15 months of downward trends. No mention was made concerning declining PPC conversion levels or any new, sustainable click fraud prevention measures.
Yahoo executives stress that YHOO is more focused than ever on becoming the first stop for most people online, and will try to facilitate connections between people only as it supports the Yahoo starting-point strategy.
Given that social networks such as Facebook are increasingly the starting point for many people online, as well as Yahoo's previous emphasis on connecting users with other people and their passions, it is not clear what Yahoo's next steps are in the emerging social networking arena.
Wall Street Shows Lust for Google and Caution For Yahoo.
Search Engines Continue To Lead Technology Stock Plays.
Internet earnings season shifted into high gear this month with the major search engines drawing the largest spotlights. Yahoo the once proud grandfather of keyword search is being viewed with caution and the ever elite Google guys are drawing sheer lust with daily run-ups topping $600 per share. Some investment analysts (still unsure of the keyword search space) are happy plodding slowing along as they increase their stakes with Yahoo and continue to look for optimistic signs of its ability to catch up with Google’s keyword advertising strength.
Deutsche Bank analysts predict Yahoo results to be in-line with expectations or just slightly below as they place a humble and down $24 target on Yahoo shares which is nearly 15% lower than Yahoo's recent share price trends of $27+. Other high rolling investment firms clad in french cuff shirts and designer cufflinks expect Yahoo’s earnings to drive and support a confident $30 target, suggesting that Yahoo stock will rise nearly 8% during the next year.
Yahoo shares are up 9% so far in 2007, and the company has been through some significant changes with the departure of former CEO Terry Semel, who was replaced in June by co-founder Jerry Yang. The Yahoo Panama advertising platform was launched to help the former king of search better compete with arch rival and long-time Yang friends Google for the coveted search-advertising dollars. Recent speculation and hints by Jerry Yang that Yahoo will be sold off in chunks with AT&T gobbling up many profitable parcels have also helped Yahoo prop their share prices up. Some market analysts including a leading broker from a flint hospital also view Yahoo as more successful than Google in getting advertisers to spend more money on search ads quarter-over-quarter. Those hidden Yahoo Pay Per Click account re-charges might drive short-term results however they also spike advertisers frustration levels and push quality PPC accounts away from Yahoo toward Google and MSN.
Speaking of Google the lust for GOOG is running huge on the street, Goldman Sachs analysts deemed Google as their top pick in the Internet industry and view Google and keyword search as the primary driver of the Internet stock sector that is up nearly 50% year-to-date. “We continue to view the Internet sector as our favorite sector across communications, media and entertainment given the benefits of strong secular growth trends and significant international exposure, both of which offset a U.S. slowdown, especially in newspaper, radio, and television advertising.”
One analyst added “The performance-based nature of keyword search advertising and its ability for direct response lead to higher portions of advertising budgets being allocated to the major search engines, especially Google AdWords. We do have a concern with one aspect of Pay Per Click Search Advertising: Click Fraud.”
In researching the numbers "we find few companies as well positioned as Google.” Google Investors are looking for new updates on Google's continuing transformation of YouTube and quality of overlay advertising within the online video space.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
MSN Working Hard To Improve Keyword Search System
MSN Live Search Goes Through Upgrade.
Microsoft has been quite busy rolling out new updates on the MSN search engine as they try to better compete with Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft is now searching deeper and gathering more urls, in fact the MSN search databases have recently quadrupled in size, and the core algortihm of the msnbot spiders that power MSN Live search results have undergone an overhaul according to corporate vice president for Microsoft’s search and advertising group, Satya Nadella.
MSN keyword search updates will be pushed 'live' in stages as the 4th quarter progresses. MSN Live Search will be improved to interpret misspellings, and variations from the original word structure. Nadella also claims that Live Search will be better at detecting “stop words” which are phrases or keywords that are not considered unless they are in a specific context or combination.
Microsoft continues to place at a distant third in the battle for keyword search share.
The Most Recent Keyword Search Share Numbers Are:
# 1 Google 70+%
# 2 Yahoo 19%
# 3 MSN 9%
Microsoft hopes to increase their share of search by improving local searches, maps, health, shopping and entertainment, while they revamp and clean up the look of MSN search results pages.
Some of the fun new gadgets on Live search include: products ratings with links to products, improvements to b2b business search, maps, a health search site (move over webMD) called MedStory, and many new interactive entertainment features designed to hook searchers and spice up keyword search.
General Manager of Microsoft’s search business group, Brad Goldberg said that the company is first focusing on the 70 million users that already go to Live Search as opposed to the users who usually search on Yahoo and Google, creating incentive programs for loyal customers.
The task to dethrone Google is substantial, and MSN is preparing for a long battle. Rumors of a Yahoo acquistion/merger are still very hot in Sunnyvale as Microsoft continues to work towards pulling Yahoo into the "Redmond Realm" and instantly secure 30+% of the lucrative keyword search pie.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
New Google Wireless Cell Phone in the cue.
The latest on gphone developments & Google Mobile Search Optimization from The Economist and Peak Positions.
Silicon Valley is abuzz with excitement around rumours that Google, the web-search giant that is Apple's neighbour in Silicon Valley, could enter the market with its own “gPhone”. Google's boss, Eric Schmidt (a veteran of the telecom industry), has already said that the firm plans to bid for a prime slice of American wireless spectrum in a forthcoming auction, something Apple is also said to be considering. In short, both mobile operators and handset-makers could soon be confronted with two of the world's sexiest brands as direct rivals.
Publicly, Apple and Google are being diplomatic so far. The industry is a stool with three legs—network service, devices, and the software and content that goes on them—and “I don't think any player in the ecosystem trying to glue it all together will be very successful,” says Dipchand Nishar, who leads Google's mobile-phone strategy. By this he may simply be conceding the obvious, which is that Google would not build hardware, even if it made the other two legs.
But Google seems to be up to something when it comes to wireless phones and wireless mobile search applications. It bought a company called Android in 2005 that specialises in mobile-phone software. It has Google Talk, a free internet-calling service. In July it bought GrandCentral Communications, a firm that gives users one single phone number for life. And it recently filed a patent application for a new google checkout expansion & mobile-payment technology.
It would certainly be tempting to tie all these bits together into a new software “platform” for mobile phones and offer it to handset-makers as an alternative to existing smart-phone operating systems such as Symbian, Palm or Microsoft's Windows Mobile. Naturally, Google's search, e-mail and document services would be tightly integrated, along with its advertising technologies, which might pave the way for mobile service that is partly or wholly subsidised by advertising.
As a strategy, this might be just different enough from Apple's to assure harmony with its ally. Mr Schmidt sits on both companies' boards, as does Arthur Levinson, the boss of Genentech, a biotech firm. Google already supplies map and video software for Apple's iPhone. It would suit neither firm to open hostilities. So Google may concentrate on software for mobile ecommerce transactions such as: trips, travel, concert tickets to be made with mass-market wireless phone devices, leaving Apple to make elegant, high-end hardware.
Hardware aside, the more intriguing possibilities concern the spectrum auction. Next year America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the telecoms and media regulator, will sell a band of radio wavelengths that will become available in 2009 as television broadcasters migrate from analogue to digital technology.
The usual buyers for such spectrum would be America's existing telecoms operators, such as AT&T and Verizon. Their “walled garden” model does not allow consumers to choose among handsets, operators and software applications, or even to roam around the open internet. In July, however, Mr Schmidt sent a letter to the FCC in which he pledged Google's intentions to enter the bidding, provided the FCC forces any winner to open up the new network.
The FCC accepted some but not all of Google's advice, so the winner will have to give consumers the freedom to choose wireless handsets and wireless applications. Mr Schmidt declares himself happy enough and says that Google will “be a player in some form”, either alone or in concert with partners. Such as Apple, perhaps?
Plan for the future and take steps now to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile browsers. Peak Positions offers exclusive code technologies that communicate with WAP browsers and convert your website (now matter how large or small) to render properly in WAP browsers. Discover Mobile Search Optimization with Peak Positions the leader in algorithmic code technologies since 1999.
Contact our Organic SEO Firm
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
New Keyword Search Market Share Numbers Released
Yahoo Holds Steady as New Teams Settle in at Headquarters.
Microsoft's Search Gains Fall in August 2007.
Google's Share Now Officially Tops 70%
Here's a Review of the Latest Keyword Search Market Share Numbers.
MSN / Microsoft seemed to some sources, maybe for a day or so, to be making a decade overdue positive advancement in the keyword search space. However the most recent search numbers indicate that MSN has fallen even further in its long race to compete with Google for the coveted keyword search audience. MSN has fallen once again and this time quite hard. After moderate gains in share in 2nd quarter of 2007, MSN and the new MSN Live search engine lost market share in the most recent surveys.
Google, the ever dominant search engine, accounted for just over 70% of all keyword search traffic, its highest level ever .
Google continued to make even more significant gains in market share and overall search volume. The gains are leading to even more control of the search advertising marketplace much to the chagrin of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, senior executives and the formerly all-knowing internet power tribes in Redmond.
Meanwhile back down in Sunnyvale Yahoo slowed the flow of key resignations and also held steady in keyword search share garnering just over 18%.
Ask remained flat despite a huge national advertising campaign and held just above a flatline according to the most recent keyword search data.
Here are the takeaways from the latest keyword search market share report:
Google market share rose to ts highest level to date, with significant year-over-year gains in keyword search queries.
Yahoo search market share was flat as the Yahooligans continue preparations for a new IIS corporate structure.
MSN search market share retreated back to the pre-live search levels.
Ask has yet to find any users despite (14) months of heavy advertising.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
According to The Economist Google ~ The World's Internet Superpower is Facing Testing Times?
Here's their article, anything to drive newstand sales and print subscriptions these days.
Who's afraid of Google?
From The Economist 2007 print edition
The world's internet superpower faces testing times.
RARELY if ever has a company risen so fast in so many ways as Google, the world's most popular search engine. This is true by just about any measure: the growth in its market value and revenues; the number of people clicking in search of news, the nearest pizza parlour or a satellite image of their neighbour's garden; the volume of its advertisers; or the number of its lawyers and lobbyists.
Such an ascent is enough to evoke concerns—both paranoid and justified. The list of constituencies that hate or fear Google grows by the week. Television networks, book publishers and newspaper owners feel that Google has grown by using their content without paying for it. Telecoms firms such as America's AT&T and Verizon are miffed that Google prospers, in their eyes, by free-riding on the bandwidth that they provide; and it is about to bid against them in a forthcoming auction for radio spectrum. Many small firms hate Google because they relied on exploiting its search formulas to win prime positions in its rankings, but dropped to the internet's equivalent of Hades after Google tweaked these algorithms.
And now come the politicians. Libertarians dislike Google's deal with China's censors. Conservatives moan about its uncensored videos. But the big new fear is to do with the privacy of its users. Google's business model (see article) assumes that people will entrust it with ever more information about their lives, to be stored in the company's “cloud” of remote computers. These data begin with the logs of a user's searches (in effect, a record of his interests) and his responses to advertisements. Often they extend to the user's e-mail, calendar, contacts, documents, spreadsheets, photos and videos. They could soon include even the user's medical records and precise location (determined from his mobile phone).
More JP Morgan than Bill Gates
Google is often compared to Microsoft (another enemy, incidentally); but its evolution is actually closer to that of the banking industry. Just as financial institutions grew to become repositories of people's money, and thus guardians of private information about their finances, Google is now turning into a custodian of a far wider and more intimate range of information about individuals. Yes, this applies also to rivals such as Yahoo! and Microsoft. But Google, through the sheer speed with which it accumulates the treasure of information, will be the one to test the limits of what society can tolerate.
It does not help that Google is often seen as arrogant. Granted, this complaint often comes from sour-grapes rivals. But many others are put off by Google's cocksure assertion of its own holiness, as if it merited unquestioning trust. This after all is the firm that chose “Don't be evil” as its corporate motto and that explicitly intones that its goal is “not to make money”, as its boss, Eric Schmidt, puts it, but “to change the world”. Its ownership structure is set up to protect that vision.
Ironically, there is something rather cloudlike about the multiple complaints surrounding Google. The issues are best parted into two cumuli: a set of “public” arguments about how to regulate Google; and a set of “private” ones for Google's managers, to do with the strategy the firm needs to get through the coming storm. On both counts, Google—contrary to its own propaganda—is much better judged as being just like any other “evil” money-grabbing company.
Grab the money
That is because, from the public point of view, the main contribution of all companies to society comes from making profits, not giving things away. Google is a good example of this. Its “goodness” stems less from all that guff about corporate altruism than from Adam Smith's invisible hand. It provides a service that others find very useful—namely helping people to find information (at no charge) and letting advertisers promote their wares to those people in a finely targeted way.
Given this, the onus of proof is with Google's would-be prosecutors to prove it is doing something wrong. On antitrust, the price that Google charges its advertisers is set by auction, so its monopolistic clout is limited; and it has yet to use its dominance in one market to muscle into others in the way Microsoft did. The same presumption of innocence goes for copyright and privacy. Google's book-search product, for instance, arguably helps rather than hurts publishers and authors by rescuing books from obscurity and encouraging readers to buy copyrighted works. And, despite Big Brotherish talk about knowing what choices people will be making tomorrow, Google has not betrayed the trust of its users over their privacy. If anything, it has been better than its rivals in standing up to prying governments in both America and China.
That said, conflicts of interest will become inevitable—especially with privacy. Google in effect controls a dial that, as it sells ever more services to you, could move in two directions. Set to one side, Google could voluntarily destroy very quickly any user data that it collects. That would assure privacy, but it would limit Google's profits from selling to advertisers information about what you are doing, and make those services less useful. If the dial is set to the other side and Google hangs on to the information, the services will be more useful, but some dreadful intrusions into privacy could occur.
The answer, as with banks in the past, must lie somewhere in the middle; and the right point for the dial is likely to change, as circumstances change. That will be the main public interest in Google. But, as the bankers (and Bill Gates) can attest, public scrutiny also creates a private challenge for Google's managers: how should they present their case?
One obvious strategy is to allay concerns over Google's trustworthiness by becoming more transparent and opening up more of its processes and plans to scrutiny. But it also needs a deeper change of heart. Pretending that, just because your founders are nice young men and you give away lots of services, society has no right to question your motives no longer seems sensible. Google is a capitalist tool—and a useful one. Better, surely, to face the coming storm on that foundation, than on a trite slogan that could be your undoing.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Google Rolls Out New Linux Data Center
in The Dalles, Oregon
Facility lies on the Columbia River, 80 miles outside Portland.
The New Google Supercomputer near Portland, in The Dalles, Oregon, greatly expands Google's networking powers. The keyword search leader is forging ahead, leaving Microsoft, Yahoo and other competitors further behind.
Google has added thousands of new Linux servers across their enterprise, rolling out new Linux server farms in North Carolina and Virginia in conjunction with the release of the new Google Supercomputer in suburban Portland.
These latest moves by Google have caused wild position swings on Google's keyword results pages, leading some Marketing Directors likening the situation to a "wild roller coaster ride" for the last several weeks.
Third Quarter ‘07 is shaping up as of the most turbulent periods in recent Google history
Google is leading the charge by updating their keyword search results; re-sorting their results pages and lexicon databases, fast and furious, since early July 2007. The search engine leader is determined to become even deeper, by expanding the size of the search databases as fast as possible in efforts that help offset a long-pending merger of their two biggest competitors: Yahoo and MSN.
The stars are aligning and sources at all three companies are reporting that Microsoft intends to either acquire or merge search functions with Yahoo. If MSN and Yahoo are to merge together they acquire nearly 30% of all keyword search activity overnight.
Google's counter move has been to add thousands of new Linux servers across their enterprise; and here in the USA, Google has rolled out new server farms in North Carolina and Virginia, and is ramping up developments for the release of the new Google Supercomputer in Oregon.
The Google supercomputer project, code named "Project 02", is designed to greatly expand Google's network trafficking powers and global network capable of processing billions of search queries per day as well as a growing repertoire of delivering online tickets and other services. The new complex is the size of two football fields with cooling towers four stories high.
Google database re-sorts create huge swings in Google search results pages
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Monday, August 06, 2007
Google Ranking Updates - Leave Many Sites Scrambling
The Recent Google Dance of Late summer 2007, has affected thousands of websites as many sites have experienced a substantial change in their Google keyword rankings. Many high profile websites are singing the blues about Google's most recent algorithm change that has impacted their Google natural keyword positions, exposure, traffic, and conversions.
Some companies have gone so far as to issue hastily written, Google angst-fueled, press releases bemoaning their recent setbacks and losses in Google organic keyword rankings.
Google continually updates their algorithms and refreshes their natural search results in an ongoing effot to improve user experiences. Screaming and ranting in press releases rather that analyzing code, content and links appears to sidestep and skirt core causes of keyword position losses rooted in organic site optimization issues. Why waste time and resources distributing 'sad PR' over temporary seybacks when proven solutions and quality optimization resources are an email and phone call away. If your back is that sore over Google rankings contact this Chiropractic Durham NC specialist.
The latest Google algorithm applies slight adjustments that are rooted in code. Our clients, even those with larger, dynamic database powered strutures are not experiencing any Google keyword ranking losses and are maintaining top keyword positions as their code and content is well optimized, relevant, and synchronized with the algorithms powering Googlebot and the major spiders that power organic keyword search results worldwide.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Eric Schmidt of Google Says His New Office in Ann Arbor Michigan Office is Doing Very Well.
The chief of Google says the Internet company's Ann Arbor business is "doing very well" and is growing "as fast as we can train people."
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said after addressing the nation's governors about economic innovation in Traverse City that he's convinced Michigan has the educated work force needed to fill 21st Century jobs, including the jobs at the Google advertising sales office in Ann Arbor.
"It's growing very rapidly. We're clearly going to expand it," Schmidt said.
John Burchett, lobbyist for Google and former chief of staff to Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, said the company now has 150 employees. When Google announced a year ago it would open the ad sales arm in Ann Arbor, officials projected 1,000 people would eventually be hired.
Schmidt said Google is finding the work force it needs in and around the University of Michigan campus and hasn't had to import employees.
"There's a physical limit to how fast you can grow," Schmidt said. "You can get the office space but it takes time to train employees."
Schmidt recently visited his new Ann Arbor AdWords operation and reported "the energy level as pretty phenomenal." He said Michigan is doing some of the things to entice cutting-edge companies like Google to come to the state, including promoting broadband technology and offering a "very searchable" state government data base.
Michigan should take heart, Schmidt said, that even though its economy is languishing and unemployment here is among the highest in the nation, "the barrier to entry for an entrepreneur now is the lowest it's ever been. Smart people here can create new companies and new jobs with less money."
Schmidt and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Spoke at The National Governors Meetings in Traverse City, Michigan.
Both CEOs told the nation's governors: That America's Schools don't make the grade.
The Two titans of the high-tech economy told the nation's governors on Saturday that their states are not doing enough to educate students for technology-heavy jobs or to clear the way for investment by their companies.
"We're not competitive in our education programs," Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive of AT&T, told the National Governors Association.
"Our education system is falling flat."
Stephenson also had tough words for states that he said put up regulatory roadblocks to investment by companies such as his. Asked by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen what role states should play in monitoring or regulating the spread of broadband technology, Stephenson said, "Increasingly, your role is ... to stay out of the way."
The AT&T chief and Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, spoke to the opening business session of the governors' 99th annual meeting at Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City - a hotbed of leading tech companies in Michigan - the session focused on how states can boost business innovation and economic growth.
Both had plenty of advice, suggesting that governors' most important role was to boost education and knock down regulatory walls.
Schmidt, a pioneering Internet executive, encouraged states to show more daring in looking for better ways to increase student performance in public schools.
"Almost anything we try is going to give us more information," Schmidt said. "Why not simply try five different things and see what kind of results you get?"
But it was Stephenson, who has held the top job at AT&T for less than two months, who had the toughest words for the more than 30 state chief executives in attendance. He said that an AT&T agreement with its largest union to bring back 4,000 jobs that had been outsourced to India was struggling because of faulty U.S. education standards. "We're struggling to find qualified candidates to fill those 4,000 jobs."
He praised Michigan and other states that have consolidated franchising processes for cable television, allowing companies such as AT&T to work out blanket agreements with state governments rather than individual deals with dozens of cities and counties. But when several governors -- including the Democratic Bredesen, and Vermont Republican Jim Douglas -- asked if states shouldn't establish rules to protect consumers or require companies to extend broadband lines to rural areas, Stephenson pushed back. He said the best thing governors could do to encourage economic growth was to knock down regulatory barriers.
Friday, July 20, 2007
New Tools are Cost-Effective and Powerful.
Google launched Google Custom Search Business Edition, a hosted service that lets small businesses quickly and easily add Google search to their Web sites.
A follow-up to the Custom Search Engine Google launched in 2006, Custom Search Business Edition includes site search hosted by Google so small business owners can skip installing and maintain their own costly site search technologies.
While the original Custom Search Engine and the new business version both offer search results customization, analytics, and site traffic reporting features about visitor behavior, the Custom Search Business Edition has some key differences. These include the option to turn off ads, e-mail and phone support from Google's Enterprise Search, and business integration features through an XML API.
The goal of Google Custom Search Business Edition is to alleviate the pains many small businesses face in trying to allow customers to search their Web sites to get information or buy products.
Many of these businesses are spending money on AdWords search advertising and google search engine optimization to help in-market customers find their websites, but once customers find them, navigating among the unfamiliar products or services can be a chore.
Google is positioning the Custom Search Business Edition as a salve for the navigation issues. Search rivals Microsoft and Yahoo are also targeting this dilemma. Nitin Mangtani, product manager for Google Enterprise Group, said the original free Custom Search Engine "doesn't completely appeal to every small business web site."
"There are a lot of legitimate businesses which spend money on bringing visitors to the web site and they want search results but no ads," Mangtani explained. "And they want support. They need somebody to talk to, especially companies with no IT."
Custom Search Business Edition starts at $100 a year for searching up to 5,000 pages, and extends to $500 for 50,000 pages. Google will support larger volumes of pages through its enterprise sales group for businesses that require it.
Mangtani also explained Google's cost-effective pricing scheme. "For us to go after the millions of sites with just 500 or a thousand pages, we needed a product with a very low total cost of ownership; $100 per year makes sense. You can only offer that price point with a hosted solution. That's why the need for creating a business solution which is in between the free and business appliance product line."
The appliance product line Mangtani referred to includes search offerings from the Google Enterprise group, including the Google Search Appliance and Google Mini, both of which offer more control over security, as well as search crawl depth and timing.
With Custom Search Engine, Custom Search Business Edition and the appliances, Google's enterprise search portfolio covers anything from mom-and-pop shops to small business sites and large companies.
Which is exactly what the search giant needs to better compete with Microsoft, which recently updated their small business hosted search program.
Microsoft said it has added Ask.com's Sponsored Listings to its adManager Beta search advertising service, which enables small businesses to purchase and manage search-based keyword advertising from the Microsoft Office Live platform.
Ask Sponsored Listings (ASL), an automated, auction system that allows search marketers to purchase, manage and optimize pay-per-click and contextual keyword advertising campaigns, will join the MSN network and Live Search as distribution sources for Microsoft Office Live customers' search ads. Ask.com claims they are reaching over 59 million monthly unique users.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Developments occurred in China this week regarding keyword search and retenion of personal search data by search engines.
The Taiyuan University of Technology is testing software agents that crawl through any search engine looking for searched keyword results as well as any personal data that's been collected about the searcher. Recap of InformationWeek story.
As regulators in the European Union press the major search engines like: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to modify their policies for retaining personal data, scientists at China's Taiyuan University of Technology are researching new ways to collect and correlate data about Web surfers to provide more precise keyword search results.
The Taiyuan University of Technology research is testing software agents that crawl through any search engine looking not only for searched keyword results but also for any personal data that's been collected about the searcher.
The goal is to use information about the surfer's background or interests, blended with search history information and filter search results accordingly.
Google is the first major search engine provider to offer some visibility into its data retention policies, but the Article 29 Working Group wants the search engine to go further. Google in May provided the group with information about how long it stores server-log information.
The company's policy is to "anonymize" server logs that are older than 18-24 months, a practice that the group said, in a letter to Google Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer. Google will not specify the purposes for which server logs are kept.
The group does like Google's plans to use more anonymous data, but notes that even "anonymized" data can still contain the user's network prefix. There are also concerns that Google can reverse the process used to make users anonymous when it wants more info about a surfer. The group has pointed out that, even though Google is based in the United States, it is legally obligated to comply with European privacy laws.
The same applies to Google's competitors in the search market, including Microsoft and Yahoo, neither of which has specified any time limits on the data that they hold on users.
More than 60% of all keyword searches are conducted using the robot powered Google search engine, while Yahoo is used about 21% of the time, and Microsoft MSN/Windows Live Search is tapped about 8%, according to the Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Search report.
Search data privacy concerns are likely to be perceived differently depending upon many variables, in general baby boomers have a greater expectation of that a Web site or search engine will keep their information confidential, unless the user explicitly gives permission to share that information. Indeed, user demographics are likely to play an important role in the future of privacy on the Web when permissive data sharing is involved.
The E.U. is more concerned with the subtle aggregation, requirements management software and sales of search data, and it's going to continue to press the major search engines until they come clean.
Friday, June 29, 2007
original article by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal
Website Owners make sure to fully optimize press releases and images as Google and Ask are both about to expand their search results pages with images and related news files to further serve users with relevant and helpful links.
Google and other search companies have made major, continual advances under the hood in recent moths, improving the way they store and gather relevant content and information. But far less progress has been made in the way these search results are presented to users.
Google has made the occasional minor tweak but until recently, its search-results pages looked a lot like they always have. Its upstart competitor, Ask.com, took greater strides last year with cool features such as previews of the pages it listed, lots of summary information at the top of the page and prominent suggestions for narrowing or broadening keyword searches.
Now, Google and Ask each have rolled out new ways of presenting search results. Google's approach, which it calls "universal search," is a modest thing, a first step in what it says will be a long effort to break down barriers between different types of information a user may be seeking, such as Web links, images and news.
But Ask's new system, called "Ask3D," is a much bolder and better advance in unifying different kinds of results and presenting them in a more effective manner. It shows, once again, that Ask places a higher priority than its competitors do on making search results easy to navigate and use.
Both new expanded keyword search results systems are now the defaults on the search sites. You don't have to do anything special to use them. Indeed, Google's change is so subtle you may not even notice it for some searches.
Both of the new systems are designed to spare users the extra steps needed in the past to view different types of content related to the same keyword search query. But Google combines these different types of content into one list. Ask puts them on one page in separate sections, which I find to be the superior approach, because each type of result is displayed more effectively; it's easier to see at a glance what you have.
In the old systems, if you were searching for, say, "Red Sox," you'd have to do separate searches for Web pages, news, images and so forth. To make this simpler, Google's universal search now groups these different kinds of results within its single, familiar main list of results; a Google search for "Red Sox" includes not only Web links, but also an entry called "News Results for Red Sox" with the latest headlines about the baseball team and a news photo. At the top of the page, under the Google logo, are the two most relevant search categories -- in this case, Web and News -- if you want to separate types of results, like retire in costa rica.
A Google universal search for a prominent person (like world famous: Raleigh Realtor Ann Davis might bring up images at the top -- something Google has been doing for a while -- but also a video, which can be played without leaving the search page, a very nice feature. To see an example, search on "I Have a Dream" to view the famous Martin Luther King speech without leaving the page. At the bottom of the page is a list of related searches.
But Ask3D goes much further. Instead of sticking with a single list of search results that mixes various types of material, it now presents results in a page divided into three panels. The largest, middle panel still contains Web links (and a few ads). But it is no longer topped by the search box and links to other sections of the search engine. Instead, where possible, it is topped by a set of salient facts or direct links to salient facts.
The thinner left panel contains the search box and links to other sections of Ask, but mainly it displays suggestions for refining your search, or for making related searches. A somewhat wider right panel contains search results that go beyond Web links, such as images, news headlines, encyclopedia articles, videos, weather information, local time and, where relevant, music clips you can play without leaving the page.
A search for "Red Sox" in the new Ask3D, for example, has a summary box at the top of the main panel with direct links to Scores, Schedule, Stats and more. In the right panel, there are general images, news photos, an encyclopedia article on the team, videos and headlines. As always, the left panel shows suggestions for how to narrow or broaden the search.
If you hover over the image thumbnails, they enlarge. If you hover over the video thumbnails, they play, albeit without sound. For each of the right-panel content categories, you can even launch a further search (like: luxury cruises ) without leaving the page just by clicking on a magnifying-glass icon.
If you search Ask for "James Taylor," you get a biography at the top and, at the right, playable clips from "Fire and Rain," "You've Got a Friend" and "Sweet Baby James."
Ask also now gives you larger previews of the pages it lists, visible by just hovering over a binocular icon. And you can now get to the advanced search panel without leaving the page.
Google deserves credit for universal search (try phase converters ) , which is only bound to get better in the coming months. But Ask's new design is much more compelling and well worth a try.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Microsoft Takeover Looms Large as The Panama Project Continues to Implode.
Jerry Yang Returns as Yahoo CEO - Susan Decker Named President.
Yahoo! announced that Terry Semel will resign as CEO and pass the torch back to co-founder Jerry Yang.
Yang an original co-founder of Yahoo will remain on Yahoo's Board. Susan Decker, Yahoo's former head of Advertising has been named President. The changes culminate a dramatic sequence of events at Yahoo as the Panama Project continues to sink the ship taking many senior level managers and executives with it.
The Chief Technology Officer at Yahoo had resigned a couple weeks earlier and Semel just completed annual shareholder meetings that left the majority screaming for his resination.
Yahoo has faced mounting internal and external criticism in recent months as the Panama search project continued to flounder.
Panama has failed to increase revenues and is not helping Yahoo boost its shrinking share of the keyword search pie. Yahoo has reported poor results to date in 2007 with no end to the downward profit trend in sight.
Yang, 38, founded the company in 1994 with David Filo and serves on the board of directors, in addition to holding the title of "Chief Yahoo" overseeing the company's strategy and technological vision.
In a conference call with analysts held Monday afternoon, the company said it is seeing slower growth in display advertising --which include banner ads, website design and videos -- but better-than-expected performance from its recently re-tooled search advertising business.
Proposals opposed by the board that aimed to tie executive pay to competitive performance and challenge the company's human rights policies in China were defeated.
CNBC is reporting that Yahoo may need to explore strategic alternatives. Micorsoft has been knocking on the door for several months looking to join forces and give Google a tougher fight in keyword search.
"Yahoo is in a tough position of weakness so I think there are some people circling around it," Jim Friedland, an Internet analyst with Cowen and Co. "Given the weakness Yahoo has been experiencing, I think now is the time those talks become more real."
However, the analyst noted that forging a strategic deal with the likes of News Corp., Time Warner or Microsoft may not be in Yahoo's best interests.
Addressing such speculation, Jerry Yang said Monday the company's board believes Yahoo should remain independent.
For a full update visit - The Jerry Yang Blog
Some highlights from Jerry include:
Yahoo! has an incredibly bright future and I make this move with deep conviction and enthusiasm. I’ve partnered closely with our executive teams for 12 years to steer our strategy and direction and today I’m ready for this challenge.
Terry has given Yahoo! six of its best years. He delivered great value to our users, advertisers and shareholders. Terry refocused the company on key strategic priorities, and in so doing, helped Yahoo! increase our revenues nearly nine-fold from $717 million in 2001 to $6.4 billion in 2006; boost our operating income from a loss in 2001 to nearly $1 billion last year; and create more than $30 billion in shareholder value during his tenure. He helped grow our audience from 170 million to more than 500 million users globally, and he oversaw the expansion of our base of talented employees from 3,500 to nearly 12,000.
I will always be grateful for the incredible achievements under his leadership — and for his mentorship and friendship. We’ll continue to benefit from his support and guidance as he transitions to his role as our Chairman.
I also couldn’t ask for a better partner in Sue Decker as our new president. In addition to knowing this company inside and out, Sue has incredible talents, leadership abilities, a fierce focus on winning, and intense dedication to this company and its people. I look forward to teaming more closely with her as we pursue our joint vision.
What is the vision of Yahoo?
A Yahoo! that executes with speed, clarity and discipline.
A Yahoo! that increases its focus on differentiating its products and investing in creativity and innovation.
A Yahoo! that better monetizes its audience.
A Yahoo! whose great talent is galvanized to address its challenges.
And a Yahoo! that is better focused on what’s important to its users, customers, and employees.
The past year has obviously not been an easy one for us. But we’ve taken important steps to address the challenges we face, and we’re starting to realize some of the benefits – especially with the successful launch of Panama, which continues to receive positive feedback from advertisers and is exceeding our expectations.
By the way, that’s directly attributable to the operational excellent mentality Terry has instilled and is a clear sign one of his most critical initiatives is succeeding.
We have incredible assets. This company has massive potential, drive, determination and skills, and we won’t be satisfied until the external perception of Yahoo! accurately reflects that reality.
I have absolute conviction about Yahoo!’s potential for long-term success as an Internet leader.
Yahoo! is a company that started with a vision and a dream and, make no mistake, that dream is very much alive.
I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to transform Yahoo! into an even greater success in the future.
The time for me is right.
The time is now.
The Internet is still young, the opportunities ahead are tremendous, and I’m ready to rally our nearly 12,000 Yahoos around the world to help seize the opportunities.
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Monday, June 11, 2007
Yahoo Inc.'s chief technology officer is resigning after nearly a decade on the job, creating a management void as the Internet icon tries to mine more profits from a recent upgrade to its system for delivering online ads.
Farzad Nazem's plans to leave the Sunnyvale-based company were disclosed Wednesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing and a posting on Yahoo's Web site.
The resignation becomes effective June 8, 2007, only six months after Yahoo named Nazem head of the company's newly created technology group as part of a management shake up. He had already been Yahoo's chief technology officer since April 1998, two years after he first joined the company as senior vice president of product development.
While Yahoo searches for Nazem's replacement, company co-founder Jerry Yang will return to daily tasks and oversee the technology group as interim "executive sponsor." Fellow co-founder David Filo also will continue his focus on technology, the company said in statement.
In the posting on Yahoo's Web site, Nazem, 45, said he simply wants to retire. "After spending the last 26 years in this fast-paced technology industry, I've finally decided it's time to slow down," wrote Nazem, who also worked at business software maker Oracle Corp. before joining Yahoo.
Nazem's departure comes at a pivotal time for Yahoo. After suffering an 11 percent drop in its first-quarter profit, Yahoo is banking on long-awaited improvements to its pay per click advertising platform to boost its fortunes during the second half of this year.
In the Web posting, Nazem said he delayed his retirement until the new advertising formula - known as the "Yahoo Panama" project - was completed and he felt confident that his mission had been accomplished.
"With all this in place now, I know I'm leaving a strong, dedicated, and focused organization that is ready to define the next wave of the Internet revolution," Nazem wrote.
Yahoo parted ways with another of its top executives, former Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig, at the close of March, 2007. Rosensweig left as part of the management shake up announced in late 2006. Yahoo is still looking for a new executive to oversee the "audience" and virtual tour entertainment group that was formed as part of that reorganization.
Nazem will walk away from Yahoo as a wealthy man, having made millions by exercising the stock options that he accumulated during his tenure. In the last four years alone, Nazem has realized $213 million in gains by exercising some of his stock options, according to SEC filings. Under his separation agreement, Nazem will retain the rights to another 2.97 million stock options with exercise prices ranging between $20.58 and $34.75 per share as long he adheres to certain restrictions, including a three-year prohibition against taking a job with Yahoo rivals Google Inc. or Microsoft Corp.
Yahoo also will pay Nazem the balance of his $500,000 salary and accelerate the vesting rights of his restricted stock in the company, according to SEC documents. Most of Nazem's stock options are currently worthless because Yahoo's market value has sagged since the end of 2005. Yahoo shares dipped 20 cents after the disclosure of Nazem's resignation.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Yahoo CEO Terry Semel Facing Backlash as Yahoo's Director of Technology Resigns.
Just before Google Inc. went public nearly three years ago, Yahoo Inc. Chairman Terry Semel assured a roomful of securities analysts and money managers that his company would remain the Internet's brightest star. To punctuate his high hopes, Frank Sinatra's "The Best Is Yet to Come" played in the background.
Google has so thoroughly eclipsed its rival since then that a growing contingent of Yahoo shareholders believes the company would be better off without Semel, who could face a chorus of discontent when he takes the stage at Yahoo's annual shareholders meeting in July of 2007.
Even as it has struggled, Yahoo has continued to pay Semel like a rock star (Semel enjoys the highest salary in the world) - yet another sore point for frustrated Yahoo shareholders.
"Yahoo is drifting," said Eric Jackson, who intends to confront Semel during the meeting on behalf of about 80 Yahoo stockholders who own a combined 2 million shares in the Sunnyvale-based company. "And Yahoo's problems ultimately lie at Terry Semel's feet."
Although the stake held by Jackson's group represents less than 0.2 percent of Yahoo's outstanding stock, the shareholder misery is widespread, said Standard and Poor's equity analyst Scott Kessler.
"A lot of people are wondering what is going on and what Yahoo management is doing to get the stock moving in the right direction again," he said.
Yahoo Shareholders are exasperated largely because Yahoo has seemed to be meandering while online search leader Google has been stampeding farther ahead.
In the last year alone, Google has trumped Yahoo in the bidding for online video pioneer YouTube Inc. and Internet display ad service DoubleClick Inc. while widening its lead in the lucrative field of search. Google has established such a commanding advantage that the Mountain View company makes more money in a single quarter than Yahoo does in an entire year.
It's a humbling descent from the days when Terry Semel was singing a happier tune. After Google completed its August 2004 initial public offering, Yahoo was still the larger and more valuable company.
The IPO gave Google a market value of $23 billion compared with $39 billion for Yahoo at the time. Google's stock price has increased by more than sixfold since then, creating nearly $140 billion in additional shareholder wealth. Meanwhile, Yahoo's stock price has fallen by about 4 percent during the same period, leaving the company with a market value of $37 billion.
Semel, who ran a movie studio before becoming Yahoo's chief executive six years ago, isn't the only senior management executive at Yahoo on the hot seat. Besides pushing for Semel's ouster, Jackson's group believes six other directors on Yahoo's 10-member board should be bounced: Roy Bostock, Ron Burkle, Eric Hippeau, Arthur Kern, Robert Kotick, Edward Kozel and Gary Wilson.
Only Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Hewlett-Packard Co. printing executive Vyomesh Joshi and Ed Kozel, CEO of Silicon Valley startup Skyrider Inc., have done enough to remain on the board, Jackson contends.
Although still difficult to do, removing Yahoo's directors has become a more realistic option for shareholders because of a new policy adopted this year. The rules now require each Yahoo director to be approved by a majority of the votes cast. Previously, Yahoo directors only needed a single supporting vote to prevail in uncontested elections, no matter how many shareholders may have been opposed. This system - known as a "plurality" vote - still governs most publicly held companies.
Despite the change to majority vote, Yahoo's board still can refuse to accept the letters of resignation each director must submit under the new rules. The resignation letters are supposed to ensure the directors can be removed if they don't win majority support, but the guidelines give the board the discretion to overrule the shareholders.
Three shareholder advisory firms - Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass, Lewis & Co. and Proxy Governance - have all recommended opposing three directors who sit on Yahoo's compensation committee. They are: Roy Bostock, a veteran advertising executive; Burkle, a billionaire best know for his investments in the supermarket industry; and Kern, a former radio broadcast executive.
The firms concluded the trio should be punished for too richly rewarding Semel despite Yahoo's recent struggles. In 2006, Semel received a compensation package valued at $71.7 million - more than any other CEO at the 386 publicly held companies covered in an Associated Press analysis of nation's top corporate paychecks.
Most of Semel's pay consisted of 6 million stock options given to him in exchange for agreeing to reduce his annual salary from $600,000 to $1. The committee awarded Semel another 800,000 stock options in February as his bonus for 2006 - a year in which Yahoo's stock price fell hard by nearly 35 percent.
The latest awards will give Semel an opportunity to build upon the nearly $450 million in gains he has already realized by exercising stock options Yahoo gave him in previous years.
"Semel is rewarded when times are good ... and when times are bad," wrote ISS, the largest of the three advisory firms.
Yahoo believes Semel's pay package is in the company's best interest because it's structured to give him a strong incentive to boost the stock price.
That's because stock options only yield profits when their exercise price is below the underlying shares' market value. For now, at least, the options that Semel got last year are worthless because their exercise prices exceed the stock's market value, which was hovering around $27 last week.
In its analysis, Proxy Governance questioned whether Semel needed any more incentive to boost Yahoo's stock price. As of April 1, Semel held 17.7 million stock options eligible for exercise and 7.1 million stock options that hadn't fully vested.
"Based on his ownership in the company, Semel already should have the proper incentives ... to work toward building long-term shareholder value," Proxy Governance wrote.
Yahoo says its confidence in Semel hasn't wavered.
"Under Terry's leadership, the company has a clear strategy to create stockholder value, and the company is well-positioned to capitalize on the substantial growth opportunities ahead for the Internet," Yahoo spokeswoman Helena Maus said in a prepared statement.
But Semel, 64, may be on a short leash after Yahoo suffered an 11 percent drop in its first-quarter profit while Google's earnings soared by 69 percent. Many analysts believe Semel will face even greater pressure to surrender the reins unless Yahoo's profits accelerate during the second half of this year.
A pivotal upgrade to Yahoo's system for distributing text-based ads alongside search results and other Web content is supposed to start paying off by then. The improved formula - dubbed "Yahoo Panama" because it's supposed to open new moneymaking corridors - adopted many of the measures Google has been using for years.
Semel also is counting on recent advertising partnerships with more than 260 newspapers and Viacom Inc. to revive earnings growth.
Jackson, a Naples, Fla. management consultant who owns about 100 Yahoo shares, doubts that Yahoo will regain its stride as long as Semel is calling the shots. That's why he turned to the Internet earlier this year to recruit Yahoo shareholders to support a plan to shake up the company. Besides gaining the support of 80 shareholders, Jackson said about 25 current and former Yahoo employees disillusioned with the company's direction have contacted him to support his cause and have been working in phase converters and many management overhaul specialists.
Besides finding a new CEO, Jackson wants Yahoo to close its entertainment and news division in Santa Monica, lay off employees with overlapping responsibilities and institute a cash dividend.
Jackson also thinks the board should be more open to takeover overtures, particularly since last month's media reports of a possible bid by Microsoft temporarily lifted Yahoo's sagging stock. But first he would like to see what a new leader could do with the tarnished Internet icon.
"It's frustrating because you can see so much unlocked potential in the company," Jackson said. "If it Yahoo were managed in the right way, it could be worth $150 billion."