A Web Traffic List Lovers Delight

December 31, 2010

This is the final post of 2010. Quite a year. I want to wrap up with a sure fire way to get your Web page indexed with maximum impact. Now you don’t have to struggle to whip up key words which humans use again and again in the searches. Navigate to “2010 Updates List of Top 500 Search Keywords on the Internet.” Now some of these key words won’t be much help to Beyond Search. We don’t write about the many “tubes” or “pumpkin face patterns.” Some search engine optimization wizards may suggest matching key words to content. Others? Heck just use the top terms anyway. Enjoy and have a good 2011. For the “real” search consultants experts: Keep on the bamboozle route. There’s another year of tom foolery ahead.

Stephen E Arnold, December 31, 2010

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Capgemini: Open Source Support from Blue Chip Outfit

December 31, 2010

With the rush of newly minted consultants, I often lose track of the big outfits. Capgemini does qualify as a blue chip. Its status was cemented when the original Booz, Allen & Hamilton succumbed to internal squabbling. With the management consulting business operating under the rubric Booz & Co. and the government and technical services unit dubbed Booz Allen, a new mid tier outfit was birthed. The IPO cemented the mid tier status of the technical and services unit. One beneficiary was Capgemini, essentially a French outfit with worldwide operations.

I learned in the Hippo newsletter that:

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today announced that one of its Dutch subsidiaries, Capgemini Nederland B.V. (“Capgemini”), has entered into an open alliance with six Open Source vendors in the Netherlands. The unique alliance, comprising six best-of-breed vendors, is aimed at providing a single point of contact for Capgemini’s customers who are using Open Source.

Who are the partners?

The six vendors in the alliance are: Hippo, Ingres, Pentaho, Red Hat, SugarCRM, and Zarafa.

So what?

The move is definitely an indication that a blue chip outfit thinks open source is going to be of interest to certain companies, prospects, and clients in 2011. I am confident that the low-tier and mid-tier consulting firms will rush to say, “We are open source experts too.” Maybe.

What’s clear to me is that Capgemini seems to have an open source practice and some focus, not marketing baloney. Worth watching. It seems to me that Capgemini may need to fill a gap in search unless search does not look like a particularly robust billing area.

Stephen E Arnold, December 31, 2010

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Open Source Quiverings

December 31, 2010

Tremors come in three varieties. (Bear with me. I am simplifying.) There are static tremors. There are intention tremors. And there are postural tremors. Open source is getting the shakes, and I don’t know which type. You may be more informed about the causes of tremors than I. So read “OSI Refers Novell Acquisition to Competition Authorities.” OSI is the open source initiative. The Competition Authorities is a UK outfit that watches for dangerous bites from capitalists intent on biting big chunks from a UK citizen. The main idea, if the write up is accurate, is that companies hostile to open source are taking steps to vibrate open source into submission. Here’s a snippet that I noted:

The fact that Microsoft was leading the takeover of Novell’s patents was itself alarming to the open source community, but when it was revealed that Microsoft had recruited Oracle, Apple, and EMC to be co-owners of the patents, the OSI Board felt compelled to request that competition authorities take a closer look at the proposed transaction.

So what? Open source is a problem for some big outfits. The open source marketing card is useful, but it doesn’t solve the problem in the way degraded neural functions will. Stay tuned and stay stable. What about open source search? I feel a tremor coming on.

Stephen E Arnold, December 31, 2010

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Google and Objective Search Results

December 31, 2010

English majors rejoice. The Inquirer, a widely read Web log and news service, reported “Google Defends Against Accusations of Search Bias.” I don’t know what’s objective any more. I gave up on search results reflecting substance when I left the commercial database world. Commercial databases, for the most part, have an editorial policy, a method for selecting content, and some means of tagging each abstract, bibliographic citation, or full text document with key words. The Web is different from the commercial database world. Whatever objectivity existed in the commercial database world is turned on its head in the wild and wooly Internet environment. With hit boosting and pay-for-place, tiny extra cost flags on maps and who knows what, money rules the data coop.

What I found interesting about the write up was this passage:

“We built Google for users, not websites,” was the firm’s retort to the accusations. In its cleverly worded statement, Google essentially laid the blame on websites, saying that its algorithm is designed to pick out the best answer for the user, which just happens to be Google’s own services. However unlike its competitors, Google knows with absolute certainty how to game its own search algorithm, putting it at a significant competitive advantage over other websites. On the flip side, can any sensible observer fault Google for promoting its own services over others? After all, it has invested millions of dollars in its software, even giving some of it away such as Android and Chrome, and if users don’t like it, well, there are alternatives.

I assumed that Google was responsible for Google. More evidence that I am a silly goose. I thought those number one positions for Google were a result of just paying the Google ad sales team more money for Adwords that hook to the GOOG.

Stephen E Arnold, December 31, 2010

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Facebook Productivity Tip

December 31, 2010

Listen up, Facebook users.  Bogged down by the number of links shared by your Facebook friends?   Well fret no more, TheLikeWall is here in an effort to save you time.  Simply visit the website and login with the same details used for your Facebook account.  The Like Wall will take tally of all the links your Facebook friends are sharing and rank them by the reactions other people have already recorded.  So the most popular links are seated at the top of the list, allowing the less important ones to fall to the fray, thus saving you countless hours by knowing what isn’t worth looking at.  There is not much to this… literally.  Visit the website for yourself and see.

This service sounds useful enough.  I’m afraid I cannot report I have conducted any tests or offer a proper review; I don’t have a Facebook account.  My personal solution to wasting less time on Facebook is to never visit Facebook, but that’s just me.

Sarah Rogers, December 31, 2010

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Lexalytics and DataSift

December 31, 2010

If sentiment analysis is the key ingredient in the social content technology cocktail, then Lexalytics aims to be the brand of choice for businesses and individual consumers everywhere. MediaSift Ltd., the British company behind the Datasift social media filtering engine, is eager to see a partnership with the Lexalytics text analysis software take root.

We learned in DataSift Taps Lexalytics to Help “Tune Your Data”, that one focus of the alliance is the ever increasing accumulation of data generated from tweeting. “Lexalytics provides the ability to automatically extract companies, people or product names, without having a list of them ahead of time; the ability to calculate tweet, entity, and “linked-content” sentiment; output lists of positive/negative entities; and more.”

The Founder and CEO of Favorit Ltd., owner of Tweetmeme, a service designed to total all links and ascertain which are the most popular, is Nick Halstead. “An important part of the metrics we provide through Datasift is the sentiment, or tonality of the data. We needed an engine that could integrate quickly into our environment and start immediately providing accurate sentiment analysis across all our data services.” says Halstead. “Lexalytics Salience gives us a great combination of flexible integration, high performance and accurate sentiment analysis.”

Another goal of the union is to give users the tools to observe and respond in real-time. This is accomplished through the interpretation of massive amounts of data from a variety of online sources. The Lexalytics software possesses the capability of converting all English text and is compatible with multiple systems.  Looks like another player in social content technology is being added to the shaker.

Sarah Rogers, December 31, 2010

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ArnoldIT Makes Overflight Changes

December 31, 2010

A new year is fast approaching. We have updated the Overflight service. We use the public facing and the behind the firewall version to track hundreds of companies in search and content processing. The public service is at www.arnoldit.com/overflight. When you click on the name of a company—for instance, Autonomy—the system pulls down content from some useful sources. You can see Moreover news, tweets, and blog posts about the company. We added YouTube videos, but there are mostly false drops. Some search vendors have names that are the same as a rock and roll bank (Thunderstone) or were used by shady operators in far off climes (Brainware). But when I make a video for Exalead, it will turn up in the Exalead video display on Overflight.

The changes for 2011 include:

  • Rescoring and dropping the search vendors who are fleeing from enterprise search just belly flopped. We note these points, but do not elaborate on them in the public service. You can obtain current write ups on more than 50 vendors, but we do charge for these.
  • Adding some companies, including a hot data fusion outfit (Digital Reasoning), the business intelligence player (Attivio), and a very interesting text processing outfit (Content Analyst).
  • Tweaked the search terms to try and make the results more relevant. SDI (selective dissemination of information) queries often generate tons of false hits. We fiddled with the IBM and Oracle search strings, which are not particularly amenable to Boolean queries. We try for the public service to make the pages useful.

We anticipate that some vendors will want to know why they are not listed on the Overflight service. We cannot accommodate in the free service every search vendor. We use our judgment about what to put in the free Overflight service.

How do we use Overflight?

  • When I get a call from an outfit with money to invest, I use Overflight to see which companies are hot on the days I am doing research. Check out the listings for Dieselpoint. You can see that there’s not much action. Now check out IBM OmniFind. See. The coverage provides a signal.
  • We use Overflight to track trends.
  • We find nuggets that other systems do not surface.

We do sell space in Beyond Search and interviews in the Search Wizards Speak series. Details about what we sell are on the ArnoldIT.com Web site.

In 2011, we will add a data fusion Overflight. You can read our new blog www.inteltrax.com and see if the content interests you.

The free stuff is provided for anyone’s use. Libraries and academic institutions can recycle the material without contacting me. Commercial outfits are asked to request permission to use this information. If you have a complaint or suggestion, use the comments section of Beyond Search or write seaky2000 at yahoo dot com. We check the Yahoo account every week or so.

Stephen E Arnold, December 31, 2010

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SEO Apologia with a Trust Me as Spice

December 30, 2010

I chuckled when I read “SEO Events Help Seal The Legitimacy Of The Industry.” The write up contained better jokes than those told by a part time juggler entertaining in last night’s hotel cabaret. Example:

But what really gets me is that these events are less about the learning and more about the industry and the community. What makes people in our industry grow in their profession both financially, practically and intellectually are these conferences.

The “events” referenced are conferences that purport to teach people how to get traffic to their Web sites. Today this boils down to finding ways to get Google to put a Web site high in a search results list. However, there is increasing interest in using Facebook as away to generate sales leads or just make sales.

So, the “events” are really about teaching people to bend Google to some degree to the purpose of the marketer, not to the purpose of the person looking for an answer to a question.

But the real hoot came from this passage:

So even if you know it all, trust me, you will learn something. Even if you know everyone, trust me, you will make a connection that will become golden in the future. And if that doesn’t do it for you, then help make this industry something special by coming out and supporting your colleagues.

At age 66, the reason one goes to a conference or does work is to cope with our pal Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Altruism kicks in after some other needs have been met. I enjoy “trust me” statements and assurances that for fee events are not about money derived either directly or indirectly.

Ho ho ho. Yep, trust those search engine optimization experts to get a Web site traffic. Ho ho ho. (This last “ho ho ho” is the sound of a person laughing on the way to the bank.) Does SEO yield traffic? Spend some money and find out. Our approach is content centric, not so much SEO. Objective search results: going the way of the dodo I fear. If SEO works so well, why is online advertising thriving in a lousy economy? The SEO crowd has an answer, of course. Do SEO. Do online ads. How is that working out for you?

Stephen E Arnold, December 30, 2010

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A Metric Morning for Digital Content Marketers

December 30, 2010

Hard data about the success or failure of online initiatives is tough to locate. I routinely delete news releases from privately-held companies that assert “Record revenues” or “profits double in the last quarter.” If the news is so good, why not provide some facts and figures?

That won’t happen because the numbers are just not that impressive. So data are expressed in art history major metrics. Interesting to some but search baloney to me.

This morning (December 30, 2010) I spotted some allegedly hard numbers. Now I don’t believe that these data are rock solid. Figure plus or minus 25 percent on a good day. Nevertheless, I find the attempt at quantification encouraging.

First, item: “Some iPad Magazines Seeing Steep Sales Declines.” No big surprise to soap and shampoo marketers. “New” and “improved” compete with weird discounts to lure grocery shoppers in Harrod’s Creek. The write up makes clear that some online publications for the trendy iPad gizmo are declining. The juicy part of the write up are the alleged data. Here’s one example:

According to WWD.com, a fashion-oriented news site, reported figures for sales the iPad edition of Wired fell from a stunning 100,000 copies of its debut issue in June to just 22,000 and 23,000 copies in October and November. Other publications reporting numbers to the Audit Bureau of Circulation saw less-dramatic drops, but drops all the same:Vanity Fair held steady at 10,500 iPad editions in August, September, and October then dropped to 8,700 copies in November.Glamour moved 4,300 copies on the iPad in September, but fell steadily to 2,775 in November, and has seen sales drop from a steady 13,000 to 11,000 in November.

My take? Making money online is just as tough with the iPad as it is with more traditional services. What’s easier is that non technology people can get excited about a product or service that is colorful, easy to use, and on the nifty new gadgets. Will these products or services repay their development costs and generate the type of revenue from the good old days of ink on paper publishing? A few will. Most will tank because software is different from making content. Read the original write up for more data.

Second item: “How Much Did Those AOL CDs Cost? A Lot.” The nugget in this post was this metric:

in the early 1990s our target was to spend 10% of lifetime revenue to get a new subscriber. At that time I believe the average subscriber life was about 25 months and revenue was about $350 so we spent about $35 to acquire subscribers. As we were able to lower the cost of disks/trial/etc we were able to ramp up marketing. (Plus, we knew Microsoft was coming and it was never going to be easier or cheaper to get market share.) When we went public in 1992 we had less than 200,000 subscribers; a decade later the number was in the 25 million range. …”

For search vendors, calculating revenue per deal is a dark art. In my experience, AOL style marketing spends are the exception, not the rule. And AOL style metrics? Better to hunt for gold nuggets in Harrod’s Creek.

Third item: “Facebook dominates Hitwise list of Top Searches.” The good part is not the top ranking of “Facebook” as a term. Nope. The tasty morsel is the list for 2010 that does not include Google. In 2009, the Google hit number 6. These fuzzy data drop the GOOG out of the Top 10. Good news. YouTube.com pegged number 3 in 2010 searches behind the Facebook log in and Facebook key word. What’s ahead for Google in this list for 2011? Probably more Facebook clicks. Worth watching even if the Hitwise data give me a headache.

Implications for search marketers? iPad apps may disappoint. Spending for marketing is a big deal. The Google’s pulse jet may be sputtering which might open wider the Facebook Web search opportunity.

Stephen E Arnold, December 30, 2010

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Web Data Extractor

December 30, 2010

One of our very small number of readers sent us a heads up about an interesting “extractor.” The Web Data Extractor 8.0 may be worth a look. This sales site bills the product as powerful data extraction software:

“Just specify a key word for your search and the extractor brings back hundreds of links, meta data, email addresses, phone/fax extracted from the web sites found.”

It seems that, with this software, you can extract the desired data quickly, thoroughly, and accurately. Numerous filters are available, as well as user-selectable recursion levels, retrieval threads, proxy support, and other advanced options.

I tried to find out more about the seller, RafaSoft Systems, but came up short. Apparently, the company prefers to be known by its product. If you are motivated you can locate the registrant information via a whois. None of the ArnoldIT.com geese are planning a trip to Bangladesh in the near future.

Cynthia Murrell, December 30, 2010

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