Legal Media Search Site Baits Pirates with Keywords

June 26, 2017

How do you attract a (media) pirate? Apparently, with targeted keywords. Torrent Freak reports, “Film Industry’s Latest Search Engine Draws Traffic with ‘Pirate’ Keywords.” Interesting tactic. Apparently a Dutch answer to Hollywood’s legal-content-finder WhereToWatch, the search engine Film.nl returns legal content. However, they’ve peppered their descriptions with keywords associated with pirated content. For example, “Don’t Wrestle With Nasty Torrents. Ignore the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story torrent.” Intriguing tactic. Reporter Ernesto writes:

Those who scroll down long enough will notice that each page has a targeted message for pirates as well. The descriptions come in a few variations but all mention prominent keywords such as ‘torrents’ and reference ‘illegal downloading’ and unauthorized streaming. …

 

While the piracy related messaging is unusual, it’s actually quite clever. Since a lot of people are searching for ‘torrent,’ ‘streaming’ and ‘download’ related terms combined with movie and TV-show titles, it helps to keep search traffic away from pirate sites. In other words, it’s a smart search engine optimization trick, helping it to directly compete with pirate sites on this front. The big question is whether people who search for ‘Movie X torrent’ will be satisfied with the results Film.nl offers. That said, from a movie industry perspective, it definitely beats doing nothing at all.

Does it? When prospective viewers learn their desired content is not yet legally available, we suspect most will simply navigate away to more shady destinations. Will a significant number be persuaded to wait for the legal version by Film.nl’s combination of keyword bait and moralizing? I doubt it. But it is an interesting play to note.

Cynthia Murrell, June 26, 2017

Russia Demands Google Register or Leave

June 19, 2017

Say, this could be good news for Yandex, the Russian search giant. RT News reports, “Google News Given 3 Mths to Comply with New Law to Stay in Russia.” The article explains:

According to the Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor, major news sites with traffic exceeding a million visitors per day will be put on a special register in 2017. ‘At the moment, only large and popular aggregators such as Yandex, Google, Mail.ru, and others have such a high level of traffic,’ Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky told Izvestia daily.

Foreign news aggregators will have three months from January 1 to register their legal entities, thus allowing them to operate in Russia. Currently, there are two major news aggregators owned by foreign companies in Russia – Google and Bing. Bing belongs to Microsoft which already has a Russian subsidiary called Microsoft Rus.

If Google fails to register, it could be fined and, eventually, blocked within Russia’s borders. A quote from Sergey Kopylov, representative of the Russian National Internet Domain, seems to indicate advertising will be against the new rules. We know Google makes most of its money through AdWords, so how will the company respond to this demand?

Cynthia Murrell, June 19, 2017

Tired of Google? Try These Alternatives

June 8, 2017

Though Google dominates 80% of the search engine market, your privacy is compromised, and the results mostly are sponsored. Numerous options exist if you do not want to use Google for finding something online.

Make Use Of in an article titled 13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can’t says:

There are some patches of green – because let’s face it – Google Search still can’t do everything. They just have close to a million data servers. A few alternative search engines have stepped in and mounted a challenge.

For instance, if you are an environmentalist, use Ecosia that will use 80% of its revenue from search to plant trees. Search engines like Qwant and Peekier are good at protecting user privacy. If your kids use search engines, give them access to Kiddle that will block out everything inappropriate for kids. For people who enjoy streaming, but are spoilt for choices, JustWatch is an excellent option. Who says Google has no competition?

Vishal Ingole, June 8, 2017

Whirlpool Snaps up Yummly, Recipe Search Engine

June 2, 2017

IBM Watson’s book or recipes may have been a harbinger for foodies. Now Whirlpool, the appliance manufacturer, has taken another step into the future with the acquisition of tech start-up company Yummly, a recipe search engine/shopping list creator with 20 million users.  Terms of the deal have not been made public.

Techcrunch reports in Whirlpool Acquires Yummly, The Recipe Search Engine Last Valued At $100M:

Yummly basically can help extend the kinds of services that Whirlpool can offer … it can (generate) more recipes and other suggestions for your food items; Yummly has created a lot of specific parameters for recipe searches which help make results more specific to what users need.

Yummly will maintain its offices and act as a subsidiary of Whirlpool.  The acquisition provides Whirlpool with new avenues into technology and Yummly with a source a revenue as it continues to grow.

As tech start-ups continue to spring up and established companies evolve, nothing remains the same. Whirlpool seems to agree with us at Beyond Search. IBM Watson’s recipes are more like kale sandwiches than a trucker’s special.

Mary Pattengill, June 2, 2017

SEO Adapts to Rapidly Changing Algorithms

May 30, 2017

When we ponder the future of search, we consider factors like the rise of “smart” searching—systems that deliver what they know the user wants, instead of what the user wants—and how facial recognition search is progressing. Others look from different angles, though, like the business-oriented Inc., which shares the post, “What is the Future of Search?” Citing SEO expert Baruch Labunski, writer Drew Hendricks looks at how rapid changes to search engines’ ranking algorithms affect search-engine-optimization marketing efforts.

First, companies must realize that it is now essential that their sites play well with mobile devices; Google is making mobile indexing a priority. We learn that the rise of virtual assistants raises the stakes—voice-controlled searches only return the very first search result. (A reason, in my opinion, to use them sparingly for online searches.) The article pays the most attention, though, to addressing local search. Hendricks advises:

By combining the highly specific locational data that’s available from consumers searching on mobile, alongside Google’s already in-progress goal of customizing results by location for all users, positioning your brand to those who are physically near you will become crucial in 2017. …

 

Our jobs as brand managers and promoters will continue to become more complicated as time passes. The days of search engine algorithms filtering by obvious data points, or being easily manipulated, are over. The new fact of search engine optimization is appealing to your immediate markets – those around you and those who are searching directly for your product.

Listing one’s location(s) on myriad review sites and Google Places and placing the address on the company website are advised. The piece concludes by reassuring marketers that, as long as they make careful choices, they can successfully navigate the rapid changes to Google and other online search engines.

Cynthia Murrell, May 30, 2017

Elastic Search Redefining Enterprise Search Landscape

May 24, 2017

Open source enterprise search engine Elastic Search is changing the way large IT enterprises are enabling its user to search relevant data in a seamless manner.

Apiumhub in an in-depth report titled Elastic Search; Advantages, Case Studies & Books says:

Elastic search is able to achieve fast search responses because, instead of searching the text directly, it searches an index instead. This is more or less like searching for a keyword by scanning the index at the back of a book, as opposed to searching every word of every page of the book.

The search engine is easily scalable and can accommodate petabytes of data on multiple servers in short time. Considering it is based on Lucene, developers too find it easy to work with. Even if the keywords are misspelled, the search engine will correct the error and deliver accurate results.

At present, large organizations like Tesco, Wikipedia, Facebook, LinkedIn and Salesforce have already deployed the enterprise search engine across their servers. With the advent of voice-based search, capabilities of Elastic search will be in more demand in the near future, experts say.

Vishol Ingole, May 24, 2017

Your Tax Information Might Be for Sale on Dark Web

May 23, 2017

Theft of personal and sensitive information continues to be a threat for Internet users. Tax information is available for sale for as low as $30 in bulk over Dark Web.

WTMJ-TV published a news report titled Officials Say Thieves Are Stealing Tax Info and Selling It on the Dark Web says:

It may be past tax time, but that doesn’t mean the stress is over. Experts say thieves are stealing W-2 information and selling it on the part of the Internet hidden from search engines known as the dark web.

In this particular instance, the culprit masquerading as a high-level company executive asked the clerk at a company office to mail all W-2 forms. Though the con was discovered immediately, albeit it was too late.

Despite strict IT security policies, data thieves manage to steal sensitive information using a technique called as social engineering. This includes gathering bits and pieces of information from multiple employees and using it together to con someone higher-up for stealing the information. Experts are of the opinion that prevention is the only protection in such cases.

Vishol Ingole, May 23, 2017

Russia Compels Google to Relinquish Default Search-Engine Status on Android

May 11, 2017

Russia has successfully pushed Google into playing fair (on one matter, anyway), we learn from “Google Agrees to Open Android to Other Search Engines in Russia” at the Verge. Writer Jacob Kastrenakes reveals:

In addition to paying a $7.8 million fine, Google has agreed to stop preventing phone manufacturers from changing the default search engine to anything but Google. Google won’t be allowed to require any app exclusivity on new phones, nor will it be allowed to prevent other companies’ apps from coming preinstalled.

While Android is an open platform, core parts of the operating system aren’t, including Google’s app store. That’s allowed Google to set strict conditions for any phone manufacturer that wants to build a phone with access to the Play Store’s millions of apps. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service said this counted as an abuse of Google’s dominant market position, and for the past two years, it’s been investigating and suing over the company’s restrictive terms.

Naturally, Russian search giant Yandex stands to gain from the concession. We can expect that company to negotiate with Android-phone manufacturers to have their search engine preinstalled within Russia. In fact, Yandex’s founder and CEO  issued a statement celebrating the settlement, noting that “competition breeds innovation.” Indeed.

Russian Android users will soon be empowered to reject Google Search, too. The company promises a to implement a widget for Chrome that will enable users to set a non-Google search engine as their default. The caveat— prospective engines must sign a commercial agreement with Google. After all, that global near-monopoly will not relinquish any more control than it must.

Cynthia Murrell, May 11, 2017

Machine Learning Going Through a Phase

May 10, 2017

People think that machine learning is like an algorithm magic wand.   It works by some writing the algorithmic code, popping in the data, and the computer learns how to do a task.  It is not that easy.  The Bitext blog reveals that machine learning needs assistance in the post, “How Phrase Structure Can Help Machine Learning For Text Analysis.”

Machine learning techniques used for text analysis are not that accurate.  The post explains that instead of learning the meaning of words in a sentence according to its structure, all the words are tossed into a bag and translated individually.  The context and meaning are lost.  A real world example is Chinese and Japanese because they use kanji (pictorial symbols representing words).   Chinese and Japanese are two languages, where a kanji’s meaning changes based on the context.  The result is that both languages have a lot of puns and are a nightmare for text analytics.

As you can imagine there are problems in Germanic and Latin-based languages too:

Ignoring the structure of a sentence can lead to various types of analysis problems. The most common one is incorrectly assigning similarity to two unrelated phrases such as Social Security in the Media” and “Security in Social Media” just because they use the same words (although with a different structure).

Besides, this approach has stronger effects for certain types of “special” words like “not” or “if”. In a sentence like “I would recommend this phone if the screen was bigger”, we don’t have a recommendation for the phone, but this could be the output of many text analysis tools, given that we have the words “recommendation” and “phone”, and given that the connection between “if” and “recommend” is not detected.

If you rely solely on the “bag of words” approach for text analysis the problems only get worse.  That is why it phrase structure is very important for text and sentiment analysis.  Bitext incorporates phrase structure and other techniques in their analytics platform used by a large search engine company and another tech company that likes fruit.

Whitney Grace, May 10, 2017

Microsoft Offers Android Users a (Weak) Bing Incentive

May 4, 2017

It looks like Microsoft has stooped to buying traffic for Bing; that cannot bode well.  OnMSFT reports, “Set Bing as Your Search Engine on iPhone or Android, Get a Microsoft Rewards $5 Gift Card.”  Paradoxically, they don’t seem terribly anxious to spread the word. Reporter Kareem Anderson writes:

Sleuthers over in the Reddit forums have dug up a neat little nugget of savings for iPhone and Android users. According to a thread at the Xbox One subreddit, iPhone and Android users who set their default search engine to Bing can receive a Microsoft Rewards $5 gift card. The details were originally pulled from a Microsoft site instructing users on how to make the change from Google to Bing on smartphone devices. We should note that the redemption process hasn’t been without its issues as several Android users have mentioned that it has not worked or appears delayed in confirming the release of gift cards.

So, they’ve created an incentive, but are not promoting it or, apparently, fulfilling it effectively—talk about mixed messages! Still, if you use an Android device and are inclined toward Bing, but haven’t yet set it as your default browser, you may be able to profit a little by doing so.  Anderson shares a link to the Microsoft Rewards page for our convenience.

Cynthia Murrell, May 4, 2017

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