Natural Search Blog


Google’s I’m Feeling Lucky Button Enabling Spam

Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” functionality is apparently enabling a lot of email spam to bypass filters.

I'm Feeling Lucky

When you use the button by entering a keyword phrase and hitting the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, Google sends you straight to the very first webpage in their results that matches that phrase.

Spammers have apparently found that they can embed links like this one for Natural Search Blog to the Google I’m Feeling Lucky functionality, and their emails will bypass filters that would automatically catch lots of blacklisted and spammy-looking URLs. Email filters allow links to search engine results through because many people may genuinely send such links to one another.

It was just the day before yesterday that I wrote about how a guy was using the I’m Feeling Lucky button to enable some cool linkbait involving Chuck Norris. That was a benign use of the application, whereas using it to obscure links to evil spammy sites would definitely be unethical/black-hat.

So, how will this get fixed? I’d expect that Google may have to lock down their “I’m feeling lucky” functionality so that it only works for users referred directly from the Google homepage, and from the Google Toolbar (if the user has enabled the I’m Feeling Lucky button on the toolbar).

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Do CueCats Have 9 Lives?!? Google Resurrects a Bad Idea

For those of us who’ve been around the internet biz for a while, there’s often a feeling of deja vu or “been there, done that!” Thus we have that sensation today when we see this article from Silicon Alley Insider which seems to gush just a bit in its praise of these cute, “new” barcodes that Google is resurrecting in some print ads that can be scanned camera phones so people can easily connect up instantaneously to associated websites.

The article fails to mention the last time this sad concept was foisted on the world. Remember the company, Digital Convergence, with their various “CueCat” devices that allowed people to do this exact same thing?

The CueCat (more…)

Mahalo now associates user profiles

Mahalo has begun allowing users to associate their profiles with their user profiles at MySpace, StumbleUpon, Digg, Twitter, Flicker, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pownce.

This is pretty cool for people who would like to start getting their various social media efforts coordinated, and who wish to promote their work across multiple sites.

I previously mentioned Spock, a service that does something similar, only Spock is coordinating results and information without asking permission to create combined user profiles on people – something that some have found a bit creepy. Mahalo’s opt-in format is in contrast the noncreepy way to go about doing this sort of thing.

This looks like a useful self-promotion tool to me, and another service to keep in mind when doing social media optimization (“SMO”).

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/28/2008

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Filed under: Social Media Optimization , ,

Fantastic Linkbait: Google doesn’t need to find Chuck Norris for you!

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while – I saw this mentioned on John Battelle’s blog. Type “find Chuck Norris” into Google’s search form, and then hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button, and you’ll get this:

Finding Chuck Norris
(click to enlarge)

The result is a Google search results page with no listings and the message at the top states:

“Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.”

But wait! This result page is actually a hoax, only pretending to be from Google! It’s actually produced by Arran Scholsberg. Arran is a student at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and is a web designer and photographer. (more…)

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/28/2008

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Filed under: Google, Link Building, Marketing, Searching, Tricks , , ,

Zvents Launches Federated Local Search

Zvents announced today their launch of a new, blended search results page for local content. Now, when you do searches on their site, they’ll bring back results for various businesses, events, performances, movies, store sales and more in your local area. Here’s a screengrab of the newly-blended results page:

Zvents - New Federated Search
(click to enlarge)

You can see little icons to the right side of the listings which indicate what type of listing each result represents.

Google’s move to Universal Search in the past year and their recent move to expand out the local one-box results from a few listings to ten would indicate that user-testing is showing blended results to be a very popular item among search engine users. Zvents move to provide blended results makes them a very strong contender as a provider for local search and content technology. As Greg Sterling mentions, Zvents is a provider for syndicated content for third parties like newspapers, and they’re clearly positioning themselves as a potential backend for other local content sites wanting to have functionality similar to Google’s.

From trying out Zvents’ new functionality, (more…)

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/28/2008

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Filed under: Design, Local Search, Searching , , , ,

The Ultimate Online Ad: Own The Google Logo

Google today changed their logo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lego brick:

Google Logo in LEGOs

I think this may be the first time that they’ve used the logo to honor another company or product. This must be the very pinnacle of both product placement and internet advertising, combined! Millions of people go to the Google homepage every day, so this gives Lego company a nice piece of exposure.

What would you need do if you’d like to get that sort of advertisement or endorsement? (more…)

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/28/2008

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Filed under: Advertising, Google, Monetization of Search , , , ,

Vote for the SEMMYs

2008 SEMMY FinalistWe’ve been nominated for a few SEMMYs it seems, and made it into the finals. The SEMMY awards are a new annual awards event invented by Matt McGee to highlight the year’s best articles and blog posts for search engine marketing.

Stephan Spencer has been nominated for two articles he wrote, and I’ve been nominated for one as well:

I hope you’ll take a few moments to vote. There are a whole lot of great articles listed there that are well worth reading.

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/25/2008

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Mahalo Traffic Growth Vulnerable To Google Penalty

A couple of weeks ago, Heather Hopkins at Hitwise noted that the human-powered Mahalo search engine has been showing a very strong curve of increasing traffic:

Mahalo Search Referral Traffic
(click to enlarge)

They also noted that 76% of this traffic comes in as referrals from other search engines.

This is slightly ironic, since Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, has historically been very critical of the worth of search engine optimization. I’m not the only one who sees the irony in this, since Allen Stern also noted it, saying “Mahalo is an SEO Play“. As Allen notes, if Mahalo didn’t want this traffic it would be easy for them to block the spiders thru their robots.txt file. (more…)

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/24/2008

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Filed under: Google, News, Search Engine Optimization, SEO , , , , ,

Google Sending More Traffic To Google Maps

The New York Times today reported on a recent Hitwise post by Heather Hopkins highlighting that Google was now sending about three times as many of their users over to Google Maps comparing a week ending January 6th with a year ago.

This is apparently due in part to Google recommending Google Maps instead of recommending other mapping providers in addition as it had been doing early last year. (more…)

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/14/2008

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Filed under: Google, Local Search, Maps, Market Data , ,

The Kelsey Group Puts Print Yellow Pages On Notice

Walking FingersOver at Media Post, The Kelsey Group is quoted today saying that the erosion in usage of print yellow pages is likely to fall off at a higher rate this year — by 10% this year, compared with only 2% to 3% erosion in recent years.

They state that a combination of factors such as more users going to internet yellow pages and local search engines combined with a recession are propelling the rapid erosion. Concerningly, one can extrapolate that if print YP usage is dropping, advertiser dollars might also follow the herd.

As Greg Sterling points out, The Kelsey Group has historically been a very staunch defender of the print YP industry, so this article is a bit of a gut-punch to people in the legacy print business, even though anyone watching the trends over the last few years won’t find it all that surprising.

One thing the Media Post article doesn’t mention is how (more…)

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Posted by of Silvery on 01/11/2008

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Filed under: Local Search, Market Data, News, Yellow Pages , , , , ,

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