Searching Beyond the Paid

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Google Trademark Insanity

This has to be one of the nuttiest things I've ever seen. Via Marketing Pilgrim, it appears that a firm called Ascentive is suing Google for not showing them in the organic results. They claim that "consumers expect to see the trademark owner in organic search results for the trademark and therefore consumers will be actionably confused if the trademark owner doesn't appear there." Apparently Ascentive claims that this is a violation of a legal statute called the Lanham Act.

Are they kidding?!? Since when does a search engine have a legal obligation to list your website in their free organic results? And since when does the absence of said listing lead to consumer confusion?

I agree there is plenty of consumer confusion when it comes to the SERPs. But that has nothing to do with obligation on Google's part.

What about your obligation as a website owner to make sure your site is optimized? Hmm....

Additional coverage is at TechDirt, where I agree with the first commenter who says, "Google is not a RIGHT. They OFFER a service, they are not OBLIGATED to include you in it." Indeed.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Early Results from Bing PPC

The SEM world is still a-buzz over Bing, Microsoft's new search engine. While it's still way too early to tell whether it will be a Google killer or even an improvement over, early results for one of our adCenter PPC clients are encouraging.

I ran a quick analysis of visitors & conversions for this client, whose business is in the travel vertical, comparing the first 11 days of May to the first 11 days of June. Their PPC campaigns were unchanged during this time as far as budget and strategy.

Growth in visitors from Bing PPC is 25% higher than average. Even more exciting is that Bing/MSN's traditionally-good conversion rate is continuing: conversion rate from adCenter is 58% higher than average for PPC, and actually increased since the Bing lauch - whereas overall conversion rate from PPC is down slightly.

Is this proof that Bing's a Google killer? No. Is it a good sign for overall client ROI? Absolutely.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Microsoft Search Summit 2009: Bing, adCenter, and More

Last Wednesday through Friday, Microsoft held their Search Summit, where approximately 80 search experts gathered in Bellevue, WA to hear about and discuss the latest and greatest about Microsoft's search products. In previous years, MS had two separate conferences, with organic / SEO represented at Search Champs and advertisers at Ad Champs. This year, they decided to combine the two for a super-power-search experience.

Of course the biggest buzz out of this conference was over Bing, MS's new search engine. I have to say, initially I'm impressed with the functionality of the engine, especially in certain verticals like travel and shopping. Instead of a mish-mash of results, Bing returns an organized SERP with sections for reviews, price, features, etc. It's pretty cool.

On the advertising side, a lot of discussion focused on the adCenter spring upgrade, including the new and improved adCenter Desktop, which is close to coming out of beta.

Most of the advertiser sessions included plenty of time for questions & discussion, which is always the best part. Controversy over trademark protection continues, with lots of debate over Google's recently announced trademark policy change. It seemed as though half the attendees favored the new policy, and half were up in arms over it. I guess we'll see how it all shakes out.

All in all it was a useful and informative conference, with networking that was second to none. I'm honored to have been a part of it. I hope that Bing gives MS the traffic boost it needs to make all their efforts worthwhile.

If you're interested in reading more news from the conference, WebProNews has a good summary of interesting tweets from those in attendance.

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