With the majority of the Democrats caving in to the Bush administration's demands for full immunity for the telecom companies for-profit collusion in the NSA's illegal wiretapping program, it seems to be clear that the Fourth Amendment and federal antiwiretapping laws are no longer enough to keep our communications secure. Laws stating that "thou shalt not listen to your customers phone calls" no longer seem to have any bite. Or at least, they don't as long as teleco lobbying coupled with massive political contributions can turn once critical senators into kindly old men willing to … Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to take on a case that accuses Microsoft and Best Buy of deliberately tricking customers into signing up for MSN Internet service and improperly charging them when a trial period expires.
Microsoft and Best Buy had asked the high court to review the matter after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opted in May to let a class action suit against the companies proceed. The Supreme Court's decision not to review the case, which arrived without comment, means the class action can theoretically move forward.
The case began in 2003, when … Read more
Web site owners and SEOs alike often feel at odds with the search engines, but times are changing. This was often the case in the past when the engines made updates and changes to their algorithms that seemed to send Web sites into a SERP tailspin, leaving everyone scrambling to regain their precious page-one positions. The engines were also a lot less forthcoming with information and guidance, perhaps taking the view that giving this information gave too much power to the spammers and phishers.
While this view was understandable on the surface, it didn't float all that well in … Read more
Search (or more precisely the search results) is undergoing some of the greatest changes we've ever seen with the influence of local search, mobile search, personalization, and universal search. Search marketers and site owners alike are bouncing between wild speculation and frantic contemplation of how search will change and what impact those changes will have.
Who better to turn to on the topic of search results than Gord Hotchkiss and his team at Enquiro. Now famous for their eye tracking studies revealing the infamous "Golden Triangle" and F-shaped patterns of user scanning of SERPs, Enquiro takes a … Read more
As part of this week's Search Engine Strategies - San Jose convention, I was invited to a private party with fifty or so of top folks in the SEO world. The event was called the "Vintage Tub and Bath Event" and took place at the beautiful Japanese gardens and restaurant in Saratoga, Hakone. Attendees included representatives of Yahoo, Live Search (MSN), and, of course, Google.
One of the top entertainments of the evening was slot-car racing. There were many races, and they were open to anyone at the party. But then the smackdown came: a race between … Read more
Among last week's digital music news was the item that seminal hard rock band AC/DC has taken a tentative step on the information highway (as opposed to that other highway). AC/DC's deal with Verizon was notable because the band chose to bypass industry leader iTunes, and because the band is selling only complete albums (for $12 apiece--higher than the current price of their CDs on Amazon!) rather than individual singles. Another oddity: most of AC/DC's catalog will be not be downloadable over-the-air to Verizon phones; instead, users will have to download the albums to … Read more
eBuddy is a strange mix of a typical Web company. While the lowercase "e" in front of the name might suggest it's a survivor of the early 1990s dot-com boom, it actually started out in 2003 and resides not in the Silicon Valley, but Amsterdam. It's also one of the few companies I've seen that has put almost its entire press kit on Flickr. eBuddy specializes in Web-based IM, which might sound familiar if you've ever used Meebo or the Web version of your favorite chat client. eBuddy works with three of the major … Read more
Microsoft has been pretty busy today, adding two third-party services to its consumer and business brands. The first is a new integration with Farecast [coverage] on MSN's travel site. Users get a new module, containing airfare predictions and deals, that offers a listing of cheap airfares as well as an airport finder. Instead of jettisoning you out to Farecast's site, it will open up right inside of MSN--similar to opening up an app in Facebook.
If there was any doubt as to how MSN would pull off the live internet broadcast of the Live Earth concert series today, it has been cleared. Powered by MSN's Soapbox, the broadcast comes off really well.
As you can see above, the video is nestled nicely among a slider of all of the different concerts, information about the venue that you are watching and links on how you can help the cause. The slider on the bottom also contains live updating information on what is happening on each stage, along with what act is next. The video can … Read more
MSN Video, Microsoft's free online video service, first launched in early 2004. Although MSN's ad sales folks tell me that the service has been popular among advertisers--MSN claims that advertisers have actually been clamoring for more inventory than MSN's been able to provide--the service missed the boat when it came to the video-posting and sharing revolution, allowing YouTube to garner a huge lead. It's also missed out on some big events, notably last summer's Live8 concerts, which were Webcast by AOL. MTV did such a poor job with the TV broadcast, overloading the show with … Read more