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09|07|2011 12:27 pm EDT

Yahoo! Up For Sale?

by Adam Strong in Categories: Search Engines

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The big tech news yesterday was that Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, was fired.  Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Yahoo! is a possible takeover target (when weren’t they a takeover target).  As Business Insider puts it,”That’s the equivalent of sticking a FOR SALE sign on the lawn.”  Yahoo! may have missed their opportunity back in 2008 when Microsoft made the play to acquire them.

Obviously, Yahoo! has been one of the top upstream providers for domain parking and many large portfolios have relied on their feed over the years including Kevin Ham and Frank Schilling.  Parking companies like Skenzo, Parked.com and TrafficZ  also rely heavily on Yahoo!.

The continued uncertainty about the future of Yahoo! can not be good news for anyone in the space.

12|03|2009 03:00 pm EDT

Google Introduces Public DNS Service

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Search Engines

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Google has just launched a Public DNS service according to a post on the Official Google Blog. The goal of the service is “to benefit users worldwide while also helping the tens of thousands of DNS resolvers improve their services, ultimately making the web faster for everyone“. On their product page they promise that the service is more secure as well as faster than many traditional domain name service resolved provided by the ISPs.

The OpenDNS like service will as a side benefit Google would also be able to see and track DNS queries of the users on the service and potentially redirect unresolved searches into Google Searches, similar to what many ISPs already do today. The company does promised not to use the data for anything else, but does state that non personal data will be stored for an indefinite period.

Google would also be able to block sites through the service that are for example suspected phishing sites. Depending on adaption the service could even introduce alternative TLDs, comparable to alternative root systems like new.net. For now their policy states that their service “never blocks, filters, or redirects users“. ICANN has recently issued an memorandum speaking out against NXdomain resolution for new gTLDs.

10|19|2009 03:06 am EDT

Yahoo To End Paid Inclusion Program

by Adam Strong in Categories: Search Engines

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In an announcement making some waves in the SEO world last week, Yahoo announced that they would be ending their paid inclusion program.  SearchEngineLand.com points out access to Yahoo’s paid inclusion sales page has been redirected to their advertising.yahoo.com.

“Both the “Search Submit Basic” program that charged an annual fee per URL and the “Search Submit Pro” cost-per-click program will end as of Dec. 31, 2009.”

Yahoo’s paid inclusion has faced some criticism from those who believe including paid ads in an organic search makes the results biased. At the press conference announcing the Yahoo/Microsoft deal in July the company said “we’ll decide on that later”.  Well it looks like they decided.

This may turn out to be a good thing for PPC on Yahoo. With paid inclusion gone advertisers will be looking for that same traffic and those ad dollars could shift to PPC.  Any kind of uptick in PPC would be a benefit to domain owners parking with Yahoo. We’ll see.

07|20|2009 05:39 pm EDT

Search Engine Bing Loves Keywords, According to Recent Study

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Search Engines

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According to a recent study by Memorable Domains, Bing gives keyword-based websites the biggest boost in search engine rankings compared to other leading search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Memorable Domains randomly selected 125 generic .co.uk websites and analyzed the position of each site within the first 2 pages (20 results) for a search on the keyword or keyphrase contained within its domain name (ex. “SpecialEffects.co.uk” and the “special effects” keyphrase). The study used Google UK, Yahoo UK, and Bing UK – all in default search mode except from selecting “results from the UK” modifier as offered by each search engine.

Two metrics were examined: the presence of the site within the top 20 results (on a “yes” or “no” basis) and the specific position at which the site was displayed if it was in the top 20.

“Yahoo UK (default mode) and Google (default mode) both saw similar numbers of domains ranking within the first 20 results, at 56% and 57% respectively”, according to the study. “In other words, over half of all the sites in the study ranked within the top 20 results on Yahoo UK and/or Google UK for a search on the keywords making up their domain name, and this was the lowest overall result. For Bing UK (default mode), 62% of domains ranked within the top 20 results.”

While Bing is the most generous search engine for keyword-based domain names, the evidence shows that keywords always play an important factor in achieving a top 20 ranking on any search engine.

[via MemorableDomains.co.uk]

01|15|2009 12:39 am EDT

Google Cuts 100 Jobs – Not A Good Sign of the Times

by Adam Strong in Categories: Search Engines

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According to the official Google blog, 100 Google HR positions were recently eliminated. Although minor in the scheme of things (Google lists roughly 20,000 employees as of September 2008) this move gives a clear sign that the company is scaling back.  The Google post also references the recent cuts of contractor positions which you can read about over at Valleywag as well. Silicon Alley Insider notes that the move seems to tell a lot about Google’s growth expectations.

Google’s troubles are a good barometer for companies in the domain business that are dependent on parking revenue.  This news may not read as devastating or shocking, but it is a somber reminder of the tough times we all face, even the big guys.  As John Battelle put it, “When Google catches a cold, it’s a sure bet a lot of other companies have pneumonia, or worse.”

04|17|2008 04:33 pm EDT

Domain Age and Search Engine Positioning

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Search Engines

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For quite some time, search engines have ranked websites based on the relevancy of keywords, the number of incoming links, and the rank of the pages sending the links. Microsoft has recently applied for a new patent that will add another factor into the mix: the age of the domains that are offering the links. (more…)

06|28|2007 03:06 pm EDT

Vulcan Puts the Pinch on Domainers and Google

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues, PPC industry, Registrars, Search Engines

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vulcan nerve pinchMore details have come to light on a story that first broke by George Kirikos on DomainState.com. Originally, it appeared that Vulcan Golf had filed yet another lawsuit against some of the “usual suspects”. However, Vulcan’s suit is more ambitious than just going after the portfolio owners or the parking companies that are named in the case such as IREIT, Dotster, Sedo and Oversee. This time they go right after the source of the revenue stream and name Google as a defendant. This is a first time for Google to be brought into a seemingly “domainer-related” case.

After reviewing the 121 page document it is also interesting to note that the lawsuit is in fact a putative class action lawsuit brought by Vulcan “on behalf of itself and others similarly situated” alleging violiations of trademark infringement, ACPA violations and RICO claims. This seems to be a very broad reaching suit. I’m surprised more parking companies and Yahoo weren’t also named. However the ‘John Does I-X’ they also include seem to take care of naming any and all parking companies, registrars, domainers, but not seemingly search feed providers.

On information and belief, at all relevant times, other “Parking Companies,” registrants and domain registrars, the identities of which are unknown to Lead Plaintiff, participate in the the Illegal Infringement Scheme engaging in “domain tasting” and “domain kiting” (as defined herein) referred to herein as John Does I-X (collectively, the “Co-Conspirators”) willingly conspired with other Defendants in the Illegal Infringement Scheme and in their fraudulent, illegal, and deceptive actions, including but not limited to RICO violations and various state law violations . ..

The suit also points out hundreds of examples of typo domains that are monetized currently by Google including names with the www , com and http added to the domain such as : wwwvulcangolf.com , httpautotrader.com , ikeacom.com . No doubt, all of these companies in the examples will be solicited by the lead attornies to jump on the class-action bandwagon.

Other juicy tidbits from the suit include the following quote :

Defendants directly collude and conspire to commercially profit from this massive ‘illegal infringement scheme’ carried out through Defendant Google’s well established and actively developed international online/Internet marketing and advertising networks and programs, for the knowing purpose of illegal commercial gain . . . .

The paper also points out how Google and parking companies misrepresent that they use filtering technology to scrub out potentially infringing domains. Pointing to Googles own policy on Adsense that states that domains submitted may not contain trademark infringments.

Aftermarket sales of domains that infringe on trademarks are also brought to light. The case documents domains such as mypsace.com, myspac.com, and ebumsworld.com that were all sold for five-figure prices. Once again, more plaintiffs I’m sure that will be added to the class-action.

Eric Goldman Professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law sheds some light on the case at CircleID.

Pro: Google and the domainers could point out that consumers who access these domain names are either going to see a 404 or a page of putatively relevant paid links, and the latter is more useful to them. In fact, according to this study, ads on parked automotive-related domains convert at 2X ads on search engines. So, perhaps these ad pages are more helpful to consumers than 404 pages.

Con: Trademark owners complain about the typosquatting nature of most domainer pages. Indeed, Google is uncharacteristically solicitous of trademark owners upset by parked domains—in contrast to Google’s normal policy that it won’t disable trademarked keywords, Google will completely disable ads on parked domain names at the trademark owner’s request. This raises the lurking issue about whether search engines can impose opt-out obligations on IP owners . . .

This is a big suit. The fact that it’s a class-action and that there are multiple “John Does” will make a bigger impact in the domain space that past suits. Going after Google is a pretty big deal in “domainerland”. The decisions made in this case could be a landmark that changes how domains are registered and monetized and have a very dramatic impact on domain monetization.

Download the case and follow more on this story as it unravels at the DomainState thread.

Spock picture from wikipedia

06|19|2007 09:05 am EDT

Yahoo CEO Semel Steps down

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Editorial, PPC industry, Search Engines

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Yahoo! LogoYahoo! replaces CEO Semel and his co-founder, the more technical Jerry Yang, takes over. Semel will be a non-executive chairman from now on. Also Susan Decker, former head of the advertiser/publishing group within Yahoo! has been named president. This is the continuation of changes in management team within Yahoo! that has been rumored to be related to a possible sale or merger with another company, such as Microsoft. For the domain industry those are important changes to watch, especially for those relying on a Yahoo! PPC feed.