Archives for March 2005

First Google’s AutoLink, now Greasemonkey.

Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows users to add scripts that can affect any website. These scripts can block out ads, change the layout, and easily control the site’s design or interaction. Needless to say, some developers are not happy with it.

A few weeks back we talked about Google’s Auto Link feature in Google Toolbar 3. It stirred up controversy because it would automatically link ISBN numbers to a bookstore of Google’s choice and automatically linked address to Google Maps. Now, Greasemonkey has these abilities and more.

Can Yahoo Make Tagging The Next Big Thing?

Flickr,, Technorati and Furl are four popular services that allow a user to bookmark sites, upload pictures, or mark blog posts with tags. Tagging is a form of organization, like categorizing information, that could become the next big thing and Yahoo could be the one to take it there. TopRank has been tagging for a while now, and we think it is a great idea.

Since Yahoo bought Flickr, one of the major tagging players, they could build their own tag search engine, or merge the idea of tagging into Yahoo search. Tagging is determined by the user, not by search engines, so your search results could be more relevant. If you were to use the Technorati Tag search you’d receive only results that were tagged with your keyword. Not only that, but you’d receive the newest information first.

Ask Jeeves offered $2 Billion from Barry Diller Corp

IAC and Ask Jeeves are not officially commenting yet, but plenty of media and blogs are in regard to a $2 billion stock deal for IAC to acquire Ask Jeeves.

New York Times: “IAC/Interactive Corp., the Internet company headed by Barry Diller, is close to an agreement to acquire Ask Jeeves Inc., the nation’s fourth-largest search engine company.”

Wall Street Journal:
“Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp last night was near a deal to purchase the fifth-largest Web-search service, Ask Jeeves Inc., for around $2 billion in stock, according to people familiar with the matter, marking an aggressive move by the electronic-commerce company into the Internet’s most competitive arena.”

Yahoo 360 enters the blog business

Yahoo is planning on offering a blog service called Yahoo 360 that will be more like MSN Spaces than Google’s Beta testing starts March 29 and will offer initial users the option of inviting friends to use the service, similar to how Google promoted Gmail.

Users will be able to draw upon content from other Yahoo services as well as share posts and photos of their own. Yahoo 360 is part blogging and part social networking.


“It’s really about keeping connected to people you know,” said Julie Herendeen, vice president for network services at Yahoo. “Yahoo 360 allows consumers to conveniently connect with the people they care about by creating and sharing blogs, photos and other content across Yahoo.”

Blog Marketing Tips

Three critical components that should be considered for any blog marketing campaign include: content, frequency and distribution.

Content must be interesting and useful to your readers. Develop your unique voice and don’t be afraid to post things others will not agree to.

Frequency of posts are important as there is a direct correlation to blog popularity and the number of times it’s updated. When we started posting 2-4 times per day, our SEO blog traffic increased by 50% the first week and has continued to improve since.

Distribution of your blog is important. A common issue I hear from people new to blogs and RSS is where to find them. What’s great about blog marketing is that you can promote a blog and your RSS/Atom feed within the blogoshpere via linking in/out, through directories and blog/feed search engines. You can also promote your blog through traditional directories, search engines and web site linking. The opportunity for blog exposure is much greater than a regular web site alone.

Google Checking Automated Submissions

I noticed today that Google is now checking for automated web site submissions on the Google add URL form. When submitting a site Google has added an optional field to enter in a string of characters that dynamically displays on each visit to the page in order to distinguish from manual and automated submissions.

This is fairly new as the Google cache of that page from yesterday does not show the extra form.

Recently it was also reported that Google search engine ranking checkers were being presented with the same type of form.

So is Google tightening up the general access to some of it’s services? If Google is getting hit pretty hard with a large number of automated queries, it makes sense. I am curious where else this feature will show up on Google.

Yahoo! IE Toolbar Detects RSS Feeds

Yahoo! Search blog has posted that the Yahoo! Toolbar for IE will now detect RSS and Atom feeds just like the Firefox version does.

To make this work, you need to have the v5.6 of the Yahoo! toolbar installed. Then you need to make sure the My Yahoo option is selected under your personal options and that you’re logged in to Yahoo.

Once that’s all done visit a site that has the proper autodiscovery tag for a RSS or Atom feed in place, a blue button will appear in your toolbar. Click on that to add the feed to your My Yahoo! reader.

I appreciate the added feature, but I enjoy the freedom of adding feeds without logging in myself – as in Firefox + Sage.

MSN RSS Aggregator

MSN News Reader
MSN RSS Aggregator

I was being interviewed for an article on RSS marketing yesterday afternoon when our discussion turned to why Microsoft doesn’t offer a (RSS) news aggregator? We agreed that Microsoft seems behind on the search front lately. Microsoft is experiencing bad search karma lately with SES NYC and their marketing program.

Well, here’s a positive turn: This morning I discovered they ARE working on a RSS aggregator via SiliconBeat and Scoble. Here’s the announcement.

I’ve been trying it out and it seems to work pretty well. The site offers Web, News and Images search with pre-defined categories including: Business, Entertainment, Health, News, Science & Tech and Sports. Plus you can add your own content/feeds.

Better than Personalized Google News

There’s been a bit of coverage on personalized Google news today, and it seems to work well. You can rearrange sections of content and customize based on keywords.

MSNBC Newsbot offers some degree of news personalization for local information and stocks. is another good news source but does not offer page or content personalization outside of entering your zip code for local news.

Yahoo News offers no personalization but does offer RSS feeds.

What I think is even better than these news services in regards to personalization is You can search news, blogs or the web. What’s unique is that the site filters content displayed according to the links you click on. Here’s an explanation from the site on how it works:

Google clustering

CNET News points out comments made by Google’s Peter Norvig from the recent Semantic Technology Conference.

New initiatives at creating more relevant search results include: “adding new clustering capabilities for search results, providing suggestions for related searches, personalizing listings, and returning factual answers to specific questions”.

It would be great to actually see an implementation of how Google would cluster results.

This was also mentioned at SearchEngineLowdown.

Audio Interview: Online PR, Blog & RSS Marketing

Please indulge a bit of self promotion. recently published an interview I did with Rok Hrastnik covering topics including SEO, online PR, blog and RSS marketing:

“Exclusive Search Engine Optimization Strategies & RSS: Interview with Lee Odden, TopRank”

Take a listen if you dare.

Incidentally, is an excellent site covering many topics regarding content publishing and marketing. They also offer a comprehensive e-book on RSS marketing worth checking out. It covers everything from creation to promotion to measurement of a RSS marketing initiative.

Internet news, blogs and RSS marketing

Search Engine Journal reports that 28% of American adults use news aggregation services such as those offered by AOL, Yahoo News and Google News. The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports newspaper influence dropped from 60% to 39% (1996 to 2004).

Explanations for this trend include increasing overall internet usage including RSS readers, blogs and vertical news sites.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project also reports blog readership increased 58 percent in 2004 and that approximately six million Americans read news via RSS news aggregators, a trend that is expected to continue.

Yahoo News and MSN Search now both offer RSS feeds for their search results. Ah, Google?

The Search Engine Strategies conference last week had 1 session on search engine public relations and 3 sessions related to blogs and RSS. A definite trend.