Local Links of Interest

8 White-Hot Trends Lift Local Search in ’08  – Michael Boland, Search Engine Watch

Eight local search trends will rock the search engine world in ’08. Here are the ones with the most momentum as we roll into the New Year 

Amazon Kindle does Maps – Joshua Topolsky, Engadget

Users of the device have been plumbing its depths, and have uncovered a handful of easter eggs which will make current owners extra happy, and might push potential buyers over the edge. Amongst the hidden features are access to Google Maps coupled with CDMA-based location-finding, which also allows you to quickly locate nearby gas stations and restaurants (as well as your own custom searches).

The Pogies: Envelope, Please David Pogue – NY Times

MAPPING BREAKTHROUGHS Google Maps (maps.google.com) has been blowing MapQuest off the map for some time now. But three new features make it head-spinningly great.

Want a coffee with your iPhone? - Brian Caulfield, Forbes

In an application with the U.S. Patent Office filed on Dec. 20, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and gadget company described a wireless system that would allow customers to place an order at a store using a wireless device such as a media player, a wireless personal digital assistant or a cellphone.

The system could go far beyond the program that Apple announced with Starbucks in September, which allows iPhone users to press a button and wirelessly download the song playing in the background as they sip their soy lattes.

In Search of the Breakthrough Mobile Network – Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service

It’s been a tough year for municipal Wi-Fi projects and emerging wireless technologies, but with the bruises comes new muscle.

Rubber Chicken Award – (aka The Columbo) Top 10 Finalists – Vote now

top-10.gifVoting is now open for the People’s Choice Awards for the Top Humor Article of 2007.The code has been debugged, the secret algo has been run, the titles have been randomly ordered and we now have determined the Top 10 finalists for the 2007 Rubber Chicken Award for Humor in the SEM industry. The judges will once again review these and make a final determination as to just how rank they are. You may be able to unduly influence the outcome (although a good solid link might do the same :), see Matt’s take on this) and identify the people’s choice award by voting here.

And the Top 10 Finalists are:

  1. Want traffic? Rank for High Traffic Keywords… 
  2. We Add Words to AdWords… Google Subtracts them
  3. Why eBay and Wikipedia rule Google’s SERPs,
  4. SEOs home alone – Google’s nightmare
  5. 13 Things to Do When Your Loved One is Away at Conferences
  6. SEO High School Confidential – Premiere Edition!
  7. The Sphinn Awards – Part I & -Part II.
  8. Top 21 Signs You Need a Break From SEO (2007 version)
  9. 10 Signs That You May Be a Blog Addict
  10. The SEO’s Guide to Beginners
  11. The Internet Marketer’s Nightmare
  12. Mission Accomplished—Top Ranking in Google
  13. Google Interiors – the day my house became searchable
  14. NY Times: On-line Coupon Growth 6%

    Interesting article in the NY Times today, Shifting Coupons, From Clip and Save to Point and Click about the leading print media coupon company’s move into on-line copupons. Vallassis Communications is creating a new coupon portal & brand: RedPlum.com to cater to woman “discount seekers”.

    According to the aricle : RedPlum will join a small cadre of similar sites, like CoolSavings.com, Coupons.com and ValPak.com, that have struggled to build traffic and wean consumers off paper coupons. In the 12 months that ended in October, the number of visitors to coupon sites grew by only 6 percent over the previous year, to 20.3 million from 19.1 million, according to ComScore, an Internet marketing research company.

    This slow growth of on-line coupons is evident in Google Coupons as well. There appears to be little or no growth in either coupon users or total coupon creation.

    Even though Google has been actively promoting coupons via AdWords for over a month, they have only snagged 500 some odd subscriptions to their coupon service via Google Co-op.

    Total coupons available through Google Coupons for the major markets seems to have stayed even or declined in the same timeframe with some markets showing as much as an 18% decline in total coupons. Continue reading

    A new Blumenthals.com Blog: Small linux deployments

    Our newest blog, Small linux deployments, is all about the technical side of operating a local linux-based hosting and web design company and is written by Erek Dyskant.

    Erek is our System analyst, sys admin, programmer, hardware and general technical guru, a sort of Renaissance man of the Linux world. He has worked with us, off and on, since he was 16 and is both a great co-worker and a good friend.

    He is a unique package that emdodies the big view of technology, the detailed view of the hardware & software and the ability to communicate about it to geeks AND small business folks. He’s a good coder to boot, studies biology and has a detailed understanding of national and global politics. If you run a small linux based hosting company or just are interested in the details of doing so take a look at Erek’s blog, you will find it an interesting read.

    Google Maps: LBC Coupon Bug?

    This Google Local Business center coupon bug was reported today in Google Maps for Business Group. I have not verified this but there have been a number of reports of coupon problems.

    TOPIC: Coupon post

    ====================================

    == 1 of 1 ==
    Date: Mon, Dec 24 2007 7:50 am
    From: The Refinisher

    I asked a similar question yesterday. See this link to my
    post
    .

    I found out that if you do not choose an expiration date for your coupon, then it will work. It is a Google Bug. I know this is not the
    answer you are looking for, but it is all I could find. I had to manually add my own expiration date on my coupon.

    On Dec 23, 11:21 am, “t…@rrlawncare.com”
    wrote:
    > How do you get the coupon to show up on your business map?
    >
    > What I did or tried;
    >
    > 1). I went here http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter?hl=en-US&gl=US
    >
    > 2). Clicked on the coupon tab, filled in all required fields, pressed
    > continue at the bottom.
    >
    > 3). Read all the Editorial Guidelines.
    >
    > And it still dosn’t show up in MY Local Business Center, Locations
    > Control Panel.
    >
    > Thanks

    Google Maps now with PhotoSpammy Links?

    This came in today from a reader:

    I ran across this new twist with InfoUSA & Google Maps and thought I’d pass it in. Do you recall when Google Local/Maps added a photo provided by InfoUSA to many local business profiles? It’s the default image for most companies.

    A couple days ago, I clicked on one of the photos (trying to check out a phony address) and got a redirect to what I thought was a hijacked, spammy page offering a credit report. This morning I finally realized every InfoUSA photo redirects to one of those pages on Credit.net with ‘an InfoUSA company’ in very light gray text at the top left. The linked photo is in thumbnail size but surrounded by an offer for a credit report on the business. Each is a lead generator since no data about the company is actually provided. Each ‘click to view’ link launches a pop-up box to register. User registration required with an offer of ‘the first 25 reports for ‘free.” Here are the TOS -

    They’ve basically got ad links for InfoUSA credit reports on every business listing. Even with a business’s own uploaded pictures, the one from InfoUSA still shows under “Photos”. To experience this for yourself click on the last photo of the business (see screen shot below) in this Google Maps search example for Chelsea Fower Market in NYC..

    I wonder if this is quid pro quo between G and Info (and planned all along) or a unilateral switch to better monetize the InfoUSA data. Would love to find screen shots from the old daplus.com since I seem to remember small links offering credit reports.

    It is not clear why or how those photo links are there but the links sure appear inappropriate, don’t they? Now that is a link campaign!

    Read on to see a screen shot.. Continue reading

    Nominations for Rubber Chicken SEM Humor Award (aka the Columbo Award)

    Updated 12/24/07 Our nominations are in. We have closed the nomination period and are now moving to the next stage of the process. The final standings will be announced before the end of the year at SEL!Take a look, give us your reader’s choice nomination for the best…..They range from the mundane to the profane. Please double check the list to make sure I didn’t miss your article or title…. Continue reading

    Wanted: Colombo assistants

    For all of you that are hot on the trail of Mapspammers this post might help to speed things up :

    Hack Google (Maps) URLs for Quick Searching

    Basically, the multi-step process of going to Google [Maps], typing in an address, clicking submit, etc., can be avoided by just putting all your info directly into the URL. For example typing this works:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1683 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA

    So for example to find Cathy’s florist that she reported last week to Google Maps for Business Group you would simply type in the URL:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=flowers with gifted elegance

    To receive your secret decoder ring send along your recently found Mapspam.

    (this would also work for those of you who just use Maps a lot and are not interested in joining the Columbo Mystery Squad)

    Google Maps Unique Visitors up 51.57% Year over Year

    Techcrunch has a good summary of the unique visitors to each of Google’s services comparing this November to last. It appears that Maps, by Comscore’s measurement, has 17% as many unique users as Google Web Search has. This % is significantly higher than last year.

    Greg Sterling has a good analysis of the numbers. However given that Google Maps data is pushed out over a number of different technologies, the Comscore count may be underestimating the number of unique users of the data set and the overall usage of Maps. Those technologies include Google SMS, Goog-411 and Google Maps for Mobile. The extent to which users of Google Maps is undercounted is unclear but it strikes me that the undercount is greater on Maps than any other Google property as it uses more distribution technolgoies than other Google products. Regardless the number of unique users of Maps is starting to take off.

    goognumbers500.jpg

    When a number to call might help

    From the goog411 Google Group

    http://groups.google.com/group/goog411?hl=en

    Today’s topics:
    ===============================================
    TOPIC: Help!!!
    http://groups.google.com/group/goog411/browse_thread/thread/90a13590c0cf0b10?hl=en
    ================================================

    == 1 of 1 ==
    Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 4:43 pm
    From: Janu

    Goog411 has been sending me the same text message every 15 minutes for
    2 hours now at 10 cents a message. This is the first time I have experienced this problem when receiving text messages from goog 411.
    Who do I contact to stop the messages??

    Thanks for your help in advance,

    Janu
    ================================================

    If it takes this poor fellow as long to resolve his problem as it is taking (9 months and counting) for this school to solve theirs (where you will also find some earlpearl’s of wisdom), his cell phone bill will roughly equal the national debt of Kazikstan by the end of the upcoming holiday week.

    Developing Knowledge about Local Search