Friday, April 11, 2008

Google Filling in Forms - security risks & marketing disaster

Seriously this is scary. Matt Cutts talked about Google filling in forms to get at more data. From an SEO point of view it is unnecessary - if the site owner wants stuff indexed they should make it available. WebMama's clients are all directed this way.

From all other points of view I see this as a real problem.

1. Marketing uses forms all the time to capture lead information. And they measure it. Let’s say Google tries to ‘fill out’ the form and get to the inside information once a day for a month. That is 30 hits on the form that were completed but did not convert. Kind of messes with the data.

2. No matter what they say would you, as a security/risk manager, be satisfied that Google isn’t going to try and ‘guess’ the login or password just because the button or form element has something familiar on it like ‘password’. A lot of personal information (aka healthcare) and business information (aka intranet access) lie behind forms.

3. What if the form is about gathering demographic information. I am not sure that the demographics of a search engine or the demographics of some bot with keywords that are randomly chosen is information an advertiser is trying to capture.

“So now we get GoogleBot instead of Donald Duck as the false name on our forms.”

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 4:00 PM     Permanent Link

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Google Organic Search - Second Search Based On Previous Query

This is important. Danny Sullivan reports from Austrailia today:

Previous Query

Last year, we covered (and here) how Google was changing the ads it displayed based on the previous query someone performed. For example, search for [spain] then do a new search for [travel], and you may notice how the ads will be targeted around Spanish travel (see also Google's help page on this).

Google's never given this feature a formal name, but Marissa said internally the company calls it "Previous Query," the first time to my knowledge that we've had some type of formal name put to it. Learn the name well, because Previous Query refinement is now coming to unpaid or "organic" search results, she said.

For example, if someone were to search for [spain] and then [travel] after that, BOTH the ads and the organic results will be altered to take the previous query into account. To some degree, it will be as if the second query was for [spain travel].

This is a big deal. Big deal. It means that the results for many "single word" queries, which can be hard for sites to rank for when billions of listings come back, will become queries involving two or more words -- and much more specific ones.

When's it happening? "Soon." Indeed, it's already been happening for several weeks for some people randomly selected. Who will get it, when live? Everyone that accepts a cookie. IE, it's not personalized search thing that only happens if you're logged in.

How could a user opt-out. Heh. I didn't get to asking that, sorry. But I imagine any search where the + symbol is used before a word or words will override Previous Query.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 9:18 AM     Permanent Link

Monday, April 07, 2008

Google & Trademarks & UK: A Good Thing For Clients

What is all the complaining about? I am thrilled we will be able to bid on competitor's brand words in the UK and Ireland starting in May 2008. That has always been a successful tactic - for years and years. People seem concerned that the bid price will go up. Yes, the price will probably go up but it has been cheap for a long time and I am sure that smart marketers can find a way to control their Affiliates and Partners. We had to put those controls in in the US/Canada a long time ago. I am not saying it isn't still a battle and that it doesn't take constant policing, it does.

NetImperative- Google Sparks Controversy with New Trademark Policy
BigMouthMedia - Google to Introduce Open Keyword bidding on all terms in UK and Ireland
WebProNews -Google Gives UK Adwords Trademark Bidding
BlogStorm - Big Changes to Google's Adwords Trademark Policy and its follow up reactions

Note - I am constantly surprised by people who think Google shouldn't do this to 'line their pockets'. Of course they should. They are a public company who is accountable for their bottom line to stockholders. It isn't about good and evil - it is about growth and making Wall Street happy.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 4:16 PM     Permanent Link