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Jan 19 2006
Search Satisfaction Survey
Here�s new data from Keynote. Briefly, here are some general and local highlights:

For the fourth consecutive wave of the Keynote study, Google topped the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings, an aggregate ranking of leading search engines based on an analysis of 250+ metrics measured during the study. In fact, Google outperformed its competitors in all 13 business success drivers measured in the study, including those for general search quality, local search quality and image search quality.

Yahoo! Search ranked second in the study, Ask Jeeves third, MSN fourth and AOL�s public site ranked fifth. Yahoo! performs most competitively with Google in the local and image search categories. When searching for local services or information, 82% of Yahoo! users reported task success, as compared to 83% of Google users, and 66% of Yahoo! users were very satisfied with their search as compared to 71% of Google users.

More from Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:29 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
Video and the Future of PPC
NetImperative reports, among other things, that Microsoft will be seeking (at some undetermined point) to add video ads to PPC. As ContactAtOnce! has already shown, you can put dynamic ads and pop-ups behind a PPC campaign. Why couldn�t one also do that with a video module (turning search truly into a branding vehicle)?

SEM firm IMPAQT had something similar in its �intelligent landing page,� which is video-enabled.

It strikes me that building in more dynamic capabilities (e.g., PPCall, video, maps, etc.) behind or off PPC ads is inevitable given the centrality of search in the online user experience. It will be interesting to see what comes to pass as the medium evolves.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  07:48 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
iPod Phone Coming?
Forget the ROKR. Apple�s trademark applications suggest a mobile phone/iPod hybrid. Why do we care about this? Because an iPod phone that also permitted Internet access (as one would expect it to) could be the breakthrough device that would unlock the potential of mobile local search.

The iconic status of the iPod and inherent consumer appeal�assuming Apple could pull it off elegantly�would drive immediate adoption of such a device and potentially accelerate usage of mobile data, we believe.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  07:29 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
Search Key in VoIP Research
That�s according to a study by Yahoo! Search Marketing covered in MediaPost (reg. req�d) and by Search Engine Journal.

This study of VoIP awareness/research by consumers, though not yet a mainstream consumer category, shows that search is used early in the buying cycle (as well as later) and can function as a pseudo-branding medium at that early stage as well as a direct response medium later in the process.

According to the Search Engine Journal write-up:

The Yahoo SEM VOIP survey, commissioned by the National American Testing Organization, explored the role that Search plays in the research process for consumers seeking VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calling solutions. Conducted in August of 2005 using a nationally representative sample of US adults with high-speed connections at home, Yahoo found that Search is the most trusted, essential information resource for consumers researching VoIP calling services.

Traditional media (31%) and the Internet (28%) as the two primary sources used to drive initial awareness of VoIP technology, products and services; according to Yahoo survey results. Television spots (14%), banner ads (14%) and newspaper/magazine ads (10%) held the top three spots.

Here�s another panel at Drilling Down that will address some of these interesting questions about the relationship of search to the purchase cycle and consumer buying behavior:

The New �Purchase Funnel�: Online Shopping, Offline Conversions
Even though e-commerce may have reached US$30 billion in 2005, it represents just 2.5 percent of total U.S. retail. Yet the Internet is having a growing influence over offline consumer behavior. What is the precise nature of this new �purchase funnel�? Where do consumers start and where do they typically end up online before buying offline? Is paid search truly a direct response medium? What categories of sites are the most effective source of offline conversions? Will we see more search/shopping engines add local �inventory� information this year? These and other relevant questions will be explored in depth.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  06:49 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
eBay: Record Revenues, Stock Falls
eBay reported record quarterly revenues but was the latest victim of the Wall Street inflated expectations game.

More on the numbers from Also, Om Malik takes a look at Skype revenues (mostly from outside the U.S.).
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  06:43 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
Govt. Now Pursuing Google Data
Here�s an important post from John Battelle about the Bush administration�s efforts to get at users� online behavior and search data. Battelle excerpts a San Jose Mercury News article on the Justice Dept. efforts:

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for one million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

The Mountain View-based search engine opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.

Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government�s effort �vigorously.��

Google, to some, was starting to look like Big Brother; now it can say it is defending privacy against Big Brother. Indeed, government spying on private citizens� communications means privacy is once again on the front burner.

But this dispute isn�t just about privacy; it�s also about the First Amendment and potentially chilling free speech. I�m not going to go on at length about my strong personal views on this issue except to repeat myself:

The �transparency� of online communications, Wi-Fi and wireless phone usage make it all the easier for unscrupulous commercial entities (or unscrupulous governments) to track our behaviors and even privately expressed attitudes (and that will only get easier going forward). And in a �free� country, that�s all really scary ... REALLY SCARY.

Privacy (among other important issues like free expression) is something none of us should be complacent about. It�s up to those who have strong views on the subject to express them loudly and publicly or risk further erosion of the kind of rights and protections we all take for granted.


More detail and thoughts from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  06:17 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
Nielsen Search Numbers for Nov.
Nielsen reported that total search volume was flat at 5.1 billion (vs. October). The following were the search market share numbers:

  • Google: 46%

  • Yahoo!: 23%

  • MSN Search: 11%

  • AOL: 7%

Here are the November comScore numbers:

  • Google: 39.8%

  • Yahoo!: 29.5%

  • MSN Search: 14.2%

  • AOL: 8.7%

Here�s Hitwise:

  • Google: 61.8%

  • Yahoo!: 25.6%

  • MSN Search: 5.1%

There�s some general consistency regarding the Yahoo! search numbers, but wide variation regarding Google. Nielsen is the middle number between the very high Hitwise and the lower comScore figures.

Nielsen also reported that consumers are using �the search box� (this would apply to toolbars, which account for 12 percent of search activity per comScore) like �White Pages�:

Web surfers often use search engines to navigate their way to common Web sites rather than typing the Web site�s URL directly into the address bar. Web users� top search terms were popular, well-known Web site names, such as �ebay� and �google,� ... [and] 43 percent of online searchers use the search box much like an address bar. Leading the top 10 most popular search terms for November was �ebay� with 13.9 million requests, followed by �google� and �yahoo,� with 13.3 million and 8.0 million requests, respectively.

So there are some interesting SEM (and trademark) implications of this behavior. But more on that later.

Here�s Nielsen�s list of the top 10 U.S. search terms for November for the combined home and work audience (000):

1. �ebay� 13,871
2. �google� 13,301
3. �yahoo� 7,997
4. �mapquest� 7,431
5. �� 6,528
6. �� 4,062
7. �walmart� 3,688
8. �ask jeeves� 3,389
9. �msn� 3,166
10.�� 3,125

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:52 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 19 2006
Google Ready to Fight BB Fees
There was public discussion by the telcos and perhaps other broadband providers about trying to charge fees/taxes/tolls to the Googles and Vonages of the world for the high bandwidth usage they directly and indirectly cause.

Om Malik points to a CMP column that quotes a Google PR person, Barry Schnitt, saying:

"Google is not discussing sharing of the costs of broadband networks with any carrier. We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations."

I believe the telcos are not in the �political position� to effectively impose such fees. If they were to succeed, potentially unintended consequences would flow from their actions (i.e., development of alternative access paradigms, including free Wi-Fi).

And Rupert Murdoch recently indicated he�s going to push broadband (or WiMAX) to consumers, so his DirecTV service doesn�t suffer in the hands of �triple play� competitors (cable, IPTV).

At Drilling Down �06, we�ll have a panel on broadband and some of the future scenarios:

The Broadband Juggernaut: Slowing Down or Speeding Up?
High-speed Internet access is the backbone of the new consumer paradigm. It took a decade for broadband to reach �critical mass� in the U.S. Now we are witnessing the disruptive effects for traditional media and potentially for some newer technologies as well. Yet there are predictions that broadband is slowing. But competition, new initiatives and new technologies could drive high-speed access to nearly 100 percent penetration in the next several years. Which version of the future is correct? This panel will debate the potential scenarios and look outside the U.S. to higher-speed markets to see what the U.S. future might hold.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:30 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

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