Natural Search Blog


Decider Enters Local Search

Decider logoHumorous faux-newspaper, The Onion, has launched a new local directory site called Decider in beta. While The Onion is famous for its satirical “news” articles, Decider is a decidedly serious guide intended to complement their other offerings like serious classifieds and the A.V. Club (The Onion’s arts and entertainment site).

Decider brings local business listings for bars, restaurants, music venues, events, and reviews. It appears to be targeted to the college-to-early-thirties demographic, and sports advertisements on the pages.

When I heard about Decider, I immediately though, “oh, yet another business directory site among the many others,” — a thought apparently shared to some degree by Andrew Shotland. (more…)

Dan Heath, 5th Keynote at SES San Jose 08

Dan Heath, one of the co-authors of the book, “Made to Stick“, spoke on the last day of the Search Engine Strategies conference, last week. Dan is a Consultant to the Policy Programs for the Aspen Institute.

SUCCES - Sticky Idea Hallmarks by Dan Heath
Dan Heath presenting Made To Stick’s hallmarks of sticky ideas:
Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories.

Dan presented the main concepts from his book, covering why some ideas survive and spread while other ideas die. As with a number of SES conferences in the past, many attendees apparently decided that this last day of the conference would be of lesser worth, so the audience for this keynote was a lot sparser than on previous days. This was a shame, because, aside from the Orion Panel discussion, this preso was likely the one that would’ve been of the highest worth to marketers.

How do you introduce an idea so that it may catch fire and spread? What are some characteristics of sticky ideas that make them viral and persistent? (more…)

Amazon Acquires Social Media Book Site Shelfari

Amazon has acquired Shelfari, a site where people can share their reading lists, review books, and find books to read. Others have noted that Shelfari sports a cool user interface, but I note that there are quite a few book list sharing sites out there like it, such as LibraryThing, aNobii, and GoodReads.

Shelfari's Engaging User Interface

I’m not sure that the UI alone is really enough to differentiate Shelfari from the pack, particularly if Amazon over-commercializes it. I think if it tries to push book sales too much, it might easily disaffect the usership and they could easily swing over to one of the handful of competitors. (more…)

Googledance 2008

The Googledance party was held last night at the Googleplex for SES Conference attendees, and it lived up to its traditional party-on-a-grand-scale reputation for which it has become known.

Googledance, beside building 43
Googledance, 2008

The theme this year was “Glow in the Dark”, and they gave out t-shirts which flouresced nicely under blacklights, and those endothermic glow sticks that can be linked up for bracelets or necklaces. In one area was a large Lite Brite station that allowed party-goers to make colorful messages or illustrations of their choosing with the translucent pegs.

One really cool entertainment was the “Glow Graffiti” – they had set up a couple of different stations to allow the crowd to do digital graffiti — using laser pointers to write on the sides of a couple of buildings. A camera tracks where one drags the laser pointer beam on the wall’s surface, then a computer captures the trajectories and redisplays the lines drawn back onto the wall continuously with a projector. In this way, one can draw all over the side of a building with light.

Google in Digital Graffiti
“Google” tagged in digital graffiti on side of building

(more…)

Orion Panel: Tech & Info Giants – 3rd Keynote at SES San Jose 08

The Orion Keynote Panel, “Technical & Information Giants”, touched on fairly broad topic areas this afternoon at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose.

Speakers included Matt Cutts (Google Engineer), Rich LeFurgy (Partner, Archer Advisors), Kirsten Mangers (Co-Founder & CEO, WebVisible), Robert Scoble (Managing Director, FastCompany.TV), Danny Sullivan (Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land), and Tim Westergren (Founder, Pandora).

DSCN5767

Conference Chair and moderator, Kevin Ryan, framed up the introduction to the panel by using numerous pop culture video snippets to emphasize the impact of Google, social media, and the overall internet on everyday lives. Some of the funnier snippets included quotes from South Park and Californication. (more…)

Satya Nadella, 2nd Keynote at SES San Jose 08

Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s Senior Vice President of the Search, Portal & Advertising Platform Group) spoke at this morning’s keynote at the Search Engine Strategies Conference.

Sam Johnson quoted, Satya Nadella Microsoft Keynote, SES

Nadella spoke on how Microsoft approaches search and how the company intends to shape trends in search development and how they intend to exploit them.

Nadella shows current popular content in search: Michael Phelps

Lee Siegal, 1st Keynote at SES San Jose 08

On opening night at the Search Engine Strategies Conference this week in San Jose, Kevin Ryan () spoke with Lee Siegal about his book, “Against the Machine”, and the ideas in it.

Kevin Ryan Talks to Lee Siegal, SES Keynote
Kevin Ryan Interviews Lee Siegal, SES Keynote

Siegal proposes that the internet culture is perhaps damaging our attention span and he points out the benefits of having intentionality about what we do. Interesting!

Lee Siegal, Keynote at SES San Jose 2008
Lee Siegal, author of “Against the Machine”

Google Pushes Reading Lists of Politicians & Pundits

Google announced today that they’re introducing reading lists from major politicians like Barack Obama and John McClain along with reading lists from political commentators like Ariana Huffington and Mark Halperin. Google promoted the new service today on their homepage by touting the ability to read what Obama and McCain are reading, with a link line just below the search form:

Google provides Obama & McClain's reading lists
(click to enlarge)

The Google Reader blog states that you’ll now be able to “read what they read” and here their commentary as they share and discuss news. (more…)

Web 2.0 Conference: SEO 101 Workshop

Web 2.0 Expo New York 2008I’ll be delivering a brief course on the basics of SEO at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in New York, September 16th. The Web 2.0 Expo is co-produced by TechWeb and O’Reilly Media.

My course on “SEO 101” is a not-to-be missed session for any search marketer who wishes to learn the basics of “organic” or “natural” search engine optimization (a.k.a. “SEO”). While basic SEO principles are really very simple to incorporate in web site design, most companies fail to exploit them when building out their web pages and internet applications — losing out on traffic and marketshare. Adjusting a site to include just a few of the basics can increase traffic and associated sales significantly.

I’ll be speaking along with the legendary Neil Patel, who is renowned as a social media marketing guru. Neil will be covering the basics of social media optimization, or “SMO”.

Text In Street View Could Be Used For Quality Improvement

Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped observes that Google could potentially use OCR (optical character recognition) to attempt to derive text from signage and such within Google Street View images in order to create further enhancements.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Street View
, Los Angeles.

However, I see a much more immediately valuable use that could be put to text scanned from the images — quality improvement of address pinpointing functionality. (more…)

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