Archive for November, 2010
Google announced today that they have setup a fund in order to compensate Google Buzz users for privacy violation concerns.
Here is their official statement emailed to Gmail users based in the United States:
Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.
Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.
The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.
Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.
This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Google Inc. | 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway | Mountain View, CA 94043
Should Google compensate users in other countries with privacy laws?
Beginning in mid-July, Yahoo and Bing began the transition of their systems and completed the transition last week. There are some interesting data points regarding Yahoo and Bing which marketers should understand as they manage their campaigns in the fourth quarter:
- Historically, Bing has proven to have higher ROI than Yahoo, driven by similar CPCs but higher conversion rates.
- Google now stands at more than 80 percent of PPC ad spend in the U.S., up nearly two percentage points from just last quarter, and taking the most dominant market share lead since SearchIgnite began tracking spend share among the engines (2007). Yahoo/Bing will need to work hard to reverse this momentum.
- Paid search spend in Q3 increased 5.8 percent year-over-year compared with flat growth a year ago and exhibited positive momentum month-over-month, with July growing 4.9 percent, August 5.8 percent, and September 6.7 percent. The growth throughout the quarter bodes well for a strong Q4.
Search Alliance Numbers: Troubling Trend?
Although we saw some encouraging performance numbers from the combined platform during the initial stages of the transition, these have regressed a bit. If you look at overall performance of Yahoo and Bing separately before the transition and combined for the first week after the transition, we see the following trends:
- The average eCPM differential (SearchIgnite’s measure of effective cost per thousand impressions) between Yahoo/Bing and Google has increased from -5.33 to -6.19, reflecting a 14 percent decline in the relative efficiency of turning impressions into dollars. This is mostly due to a decline in relative CPCs.
- Impression share has dropped on the combined platform from 29.6 percent to 25.3 percent, resulting in less relative money being spent on the combined platform (21.9 percent to 17.5 percent).
While it’s too early to give more meaningful statistical insights on performance, the trend doesn’t bode well for the Yahoo/Bing search alliance. The gains by Google could be caused by the uncertainty of the transition, so the fourth quarter will be especially important for the search alliance and for search marketers.
Localized content, or content that it is specific to users in specific geographies, has never been more important to search engine optimization (SEO) success than it is today. Search engines like Google and Bing have made localization a huge part of their ranking algorithms.
When you perform a search at Google or Bing, the results are significantly influenced by your physical location, even on queries where you don’t specify a location. So if you’re in New York and you search for [pizza], or [hot tubs] or [DMV], your results will be very different than if you do the same searches in San Diego.
Therefore, if you want your website to appear in search results for users in specific cities, it’s very important to create content and link connectivity that sends the right signals to the search engines, telling them your site is relevant for users in those geographies. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
Creating Content Relevant for Local Searches
The idea in a localization content strategy is to identify what content segments are unique to each geographical area and highlight those on a state level, city level, and even micro local level by building dedicated pages for these audiences.
Here are a few excellent strategies for creating these types of pages. Highlight:
- Shipping rates.
- Sales tax differences.
- Warranty repair locations.
- Dealer locations.
- Different uses for different climates.
- Any other information that is specific to audiences in different locations.
The key is to provide true value to these end users by surfacing very relevant information that is specific to them based on their city or state. By doing so you not only increase your propensity to show up in organic search queries in those places, but you also potentially improve your conversion rate by creating a more custom experience for those users which speaks specifically to their needs. The higher value the information presented on these geo-centric pages, the more viable this strategy is.