Scandal, Intrigue… and Search!

By Brooke Nichols

So, what do the industry trades and news sources have in store for you this week? A search soap opera that keeps us glued to those glowing screens a few inches from our faces… A scandalous SEO plot to rid hopeful marketers of their ROI… Search results on a universal magnitude…

Yep, all of the above. Enjoy this weekend, as the search world turns!

Like Sands Through The Hourglass...
The plot thickens in the salacious story of Yahoo, Google and Microsoft and the story line tends to read more like a daytime drama than tech business coverage. The recent juicy developments in the Google, Yahoo and Microsoft love triangle have industry pundits and marketers glued to their computer screens and gossiping at the water coolers.

SEO Mos Def Busted by WA State Atty General: $450,000 Penalty Looms
Chalk this up as one more log on the "SEOs are snake oil sellers" funeral pyre. Washington-based Internet Advancement has been barred from selling or advertising any SEO services to new customers by state Attorney General Rob McKenna. The firm fleeced customers out of a "set-up fee" (typically between $1,000-$3,000) and $150 monthly fees, all while guaranteeing them that their Web site would appear within the first 25 links on the major search engines.

Internet Advancement is also no longer allowed to recruit new SEO clients, though the company can offer Web design services (as long as they don't involve meta tags, keyword insertion or submission to the engines). But as Kevin Heisler notes, the firm's Web site is still online--and it still mentions organic search marketing. Doesn't that constitute advertising to new customers?

How Yahoo! buying IndexTools changes Web Analytics
Eric T. Petersen argues that while there have been a number of major buys and mergers in the Web analytics industry, Yahoo's IndexTools grab has the potential to be the "permanent game changer."

The popularity of IndexTools' analytics suite stems from the quality of its functionality and support--at a fraction of the cost of some of the bigger solutions, Petersen says. Meanwhile, Google has already established an analytics consultant network--which, in theory, could serve as a ready-made distribution channel for a Yahoo-branded IndexTools solution. Petersen says that those two factors combined with the vast reach (and rich demographic data) of Yahoo's network are a recipe for an analytics industry transformation.

Online Retailers Try New Approaches
For online retailers, search and e-mail marketing continue to be the most popular tactics, though they are becoming increasingly interested in social networks and video, a new study indicates. That shift in tactics could be a risky endeavor, however, caution executives involved with the study.

ComScore’s Google Universal Research Findings
In my last Search Insider article, I briefly mentioned comScore’s Universal research presented by James Lamberti on the Orion panel at SES NYC. Considering that this may be one of the most significant studies on Universal Search queries to date, I think it is worthy of sharing some of their findings with Search Insider readers. Here is an overview of methodology and findings taken from both Lamberti’s talk, and data from the PPT presentation.


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