Firefox adding ads to new tab

Someday soon when you click on new tab in Firefox you’ll see – ads – they are to be called directory tiles – and they are targeted at new users or new Firefox installs. They will gradually morph into items of more interest to you (guess how they know that!). Well – all that empty real estate – wonder that no one did this sooner.

Mozilla to sell New Tab page ads in Firefox, Seth Rosenblatt, CNet (Feb 11)

“Paid advertisements are on their way to Mozilla Firefox’s New Tab page in an attempt to show more sites to first-time browser users.”

Called Directory Tiles, the initiative will use a combination of sponsored sites, popular sites based on geographic location, and Mozilla ecosystem items to fill in blank New Tab pages. Currently, the nine empty boxes on a new New Tab page fill in over time with sites culled from the user’s browsing history, frequently visited sites, and bookmarks.

Some aspects of semantic search

If the whiz kids doing search engine optimization are being advised to think “semantic” and work towards meeting “user intent and interpretation”, searchers should reconsider their search styles.

Barbara Starr at Search Engine Land describes 5 Ways To Unlock The Benefits Of Semantic Search (Nov 7)

Of interest:

  1. “Google is using “form based” or “template” queries to answer questions at scale in real time” of which Google has many.
  2. Social search is more prevalent – who you connect with may influence results – all the more reason to pay attention to the company you keep.
  3. Google+ is important to business.
  4. More websites will be using “structured data markup, paying special attention to markup vocabulary from schema.org,”

 

Google Identifier

Wall Street Journal had the surprising headlind – Google May Stop Using ‘Cookies’ to Track Web Users (Sept 20). Google might “create its own anonymous identifier for each individual”. What would this do to everybody else who uses those cookies for advertising? And what will this mean for privacy? Hard to know for either.

“Google’s proposal, which was reported earlier by USA Today, could give advertisers the ability to track people more widely. “The Internet gets a lot cleaner at that point,” Mr. Anderson said.”

“Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford University professor who studies online advertising and privacy, said it was unclear that so-called anonymous codes would actually protect privacy. “

Video Email – do we want it?

Video email – sounds like a non-sequitur – but it’s nearly upon us. Are You Ready For Video In Email? in Marketing Land (Jun 12) tells email marketers what to do to deliver video content. HTML5 is making this possible, but it still depends on whether your email client supports that. Mercifully, recommendations include “shorter is better”, and don’t use auto-play. Also – make the video “aspirational”!

Google’s new SERP for Europe

The European Commission is forcing Google to play fair and not give preference to its own properties in search results.   Google has prepared some proposals for labelling its own results more clearly. But this may not address the main complaints by vertical / specialized search services such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and many more.

EC details Google’s proposed search concessions, by Stephen Shankland, CNet (April 25)

Under Google’s proposal, the company would label its own services in specialized search results and mark them off as a separate region. And it would clearly show links to at least three rival services as well.

Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land provides a more detailed look at Google’s layout proposals — Google’s New European “Antitrust” Search Results: Here’s What They’ll Look Like

About hyper-targeting and your privacy

If you weren’t concerned about privacy on the Internet before, you will be after listening to – Hyper Targeting – How Brands Track You Online.  This is an episode by  Terry O’Reilly,  in the excellent CBC radio program, Under the Influence. It’s very scary business on how much is known about us and there are very few controls.  Read and listen – podcast is 27 minutes – I’m guessing it will be available for 2 or 3 weeks before it’s pulled and sold through ITunes.

Google+ and Brands

Will brands will help Google+ grow? This article in Search Engine Land suggest yes — 3 Out Of 4 Top 100 Global Brands On Google+, YouTube Use At 85% (Mar 12)

Google+ has now established itself firmly in the mainstream of social networking. A majority of the top 100 brands (three quarters), have active profiles. As
 more brands engage users, data suggest that those who have once held reservations may soon be looking toward establishing a strong Google+ presence.

I suppose that’s ok if you’re looking for brands. But can’t we find those in regular web search? Seems people go to the trouble of following brands because the brand engages them in some way. H&M has 2.49 million fans.

Companies are also using YouTube also to “engage customers”. How?

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of brands have an official YouTube channel, engaging fans and reaching millions of viewers. Collectively, the top 100 brands on YouTube have racked up an impressive 3.15B views.

Might be a good reason to stay away from Google+.

Social is influencing search

Another prediction about search and social coming together — How Search & Social Will Hit The Fast Forward Button In 2013 by Jim Yu, Search Engine Land (Feb 12)

This was written for SEO folks, but searchers can learn.

  • Huge growth in social data arising from activities on mobile devices.
  • Social signals are being used to rank results. Some stunning numbers: 1 billion Facebook users, 200 million LinkedIn and 200 million Twitter, 3.3 billion pieces of content shared in Facebook in a month – all that activity will be used for evaluating and ranking results.
  • As social sharing increases, SEO marketers will have to exploit it more, and it will be boosted even more.
  • Local is big – “20 percent of all Google searches have local intent and 40 percent of Google mobile searches have local intent.” So – marketers better optimize for the local market.