URLs Out – Searches In

I was watching TV last night and an ad came on for continuing education. It’s one with fingers walking around the place. The ad was OK. I didn’t really pay much attention. But at the end of the ad the call to action was – “search for EMA online”. Not visit direct.gov.uk/ema or what you’d normally get, but just search for EMA online.

So I tried it. And it worked.

On Google both top natural search listing and the sponsored link would have taken me to the right place. On Live search and Yahoo.com the right link was the sponsored top link as well as being number 2 in natural search (not perfect, but good enough).

Then a couple of minutes later I stumbled on this article (via: BoingBoing) about how in Japanese advertising the use of search terms in posters is really kicking off. I quite like how they’re integrating a search box with a suggested search term into their ads.


Visit http://www.cabel.name to read the whole thing and see more pictures.

It does seem like a potentially smart way to go now that most of the short and memorable domain names with any meaning have been scooped up. But making sure you’ve got the right people looking after your search engine optimisiation / marketing stuff is EVEN more important than it was yesterday.



Charticles one day, NewsGlobes the next. It’s all getting a bit ‘Day Today‘ round these parts.

NewsGlobe is a project that’s come out of the next.yahoo.net stables. There’s a description of how it came about here.

For last month’s Yahoo! Hack Day, I decided to show off some of the impressive capabilities of the latest Adobe Flash Player and ActionScript 3 by building a visually interesting new way to browse Yahoo! News top stories. In a surprisingly short amount of time, I was able to mash up two existing Yahoo! services, and then represent the information in a virtual environment I call the NewsGlobe.

I love the non-committal use of ‘surprisingly short amount of time’, in my head that means a few hours. I’ve got a hyperactive head sometimes.

But I really would love to know how quickly this was pulled together. Because although, as the author admits, it’s not perfect. It is a slick piece of interface design which I’m sure will be imitated widely. And once you’ve built the engine there’s lots you can do with it…

My mind’s drifted back to The Day Today and I can’t help thinking about building News Kidneys or 3D Currency Cats:

currency cat

Plundering UGC Cash, Who’s In?

I’ve just been flicking through New Media Age. And after my earlier comment about User Generated Content, I was dismayed to see how many column inches have been given over to terrible UGC ideas – but with MASSIVE cash prizes. I did a quick count, and I reckon that this week there’s about £20k up for grabs. Not to mention holidays, TVs, etc. I reckon there’s probably cars and things out there too if I were to go and look. (Doritos just put up $50,000 in cash for their ‘Crash the Superbowl Promotion‘)

Suddenly a really evil plot hatched in my brain…

  • Most entries to those things are not very good – I know from bitter experience of being on the receiving end.
  • Most of them don’t get that many entries
  • If you were good at writing, making short films, photography, etc. it wouldn’t be that difficult to win a lot of the contests that exist. They’re all being judged by marketing departments after all. And we all know what clients want to hear (or at least we’ve got a reasonable idea).

Anyone fancy forming a loose ‘A-Team’ (or a rubbishy B-Team) of creative types with a single-minded ambition of seeing just how much we can extract from UGC campaigns? I’ve got a fantasy of releasing a story to the marketing press with a bunch of people swimming in a pool of ill-gotten cash?

Anyone up for it?

Another Apple Post

This will just be one blog post about probably the most blogged about thing ever. The new Apple iPhone. Here’s a couple of thoughts…

  • It is the ultimate in gadget porn
  • Features some proper interface wizardry
  • Looks like another genre-defining piece of product design
  • Interestingly they’ve done deals with both Yahoo! and Google
  • It’s not as stupidly expensive as you might have thought
  • The queues to get hold of one are going to be massive
  • Whichever network gets territory exclusives on these these things is going to clean up (but they probably paid a fortune for it I’d guess).

But we’re all going to have to wait for months before we can get our hands on them. Even longer for us poor suckers outside of the US. There’ll be lots of people posting lots of smart stuff about this. So I’m not going to attempt to say anything much…

Apart from the fact that I think it looks like the kind of thing that I’d like to own, very much.


Yahoo! Mail Championships

Here’s a little Poke project. To promote the new Yahoo! Mail we’ve set up the Yahoo! Mail World Championships.

Starting with the theory that everyday challenges became competitive sport over time (e.g. hunting became Javelin throwing, running away from things became competitive running) we thought it might be funny to treat email in the same way. So we’ve turned email into a competitive sport and are trying to find the best emaillers in the world.

We are actually going to have a live final early next year which I’m looking forward to, a lot. I’d love to see a top secretary battling it out against a teen-computer-game-champ.
There’s also some nice little games which show off the product features in a really sweet way AND you can get some awesome finger-sweatbands on the site ;-)

I still think the idea is pretty strong, and there’s some great bits in there. But I’ve been so close to it for so long I’m not sure whether it’s lost some of it’s focus during the process. I hope not, but I fear it might have done.

Families and Technology

This press release from Yahoo! and OMD apparantly shows a resergence of traditional values among tech-savvy families. Stuff like eating together being important and things like that.

There’s a lot of interesting nuggets in there, but my favourite bit is about the ‘43 hour day‘:

How jam-packed is daily family life? The Yahoo!/OMD study shows the power of multi-tasking in extending the typical day’s activities beyond 24 hours. In the U.S., respondents listed, on average, a total of more than 43 hours of daily activities, including time spent sleeping, working, commuting, as well as technology/media-based activities such as emailing, using an MP3 player, text messaging, and watching TV.

Yahoo! – Press Release

Geotagging in Flickr

Very cool new feature in Flickr, you can geotag your photos using Organizr. Simply drag your photos onto the Map (provided by Yahoo! Maps) and they immediately get a location attached to them. It’s really really simple and works brilliantly.

According to the Flickr blog 1.6 million photos were geo-tagged in the first 9 hours. That’s a lot.

technorati tags:, , ,

Yahoo! Podcast Mystery

I’ve got no idea how this happened. But I noticed that Yahoo! Podcasts were starting to send people to Crackunit. So I traced the link back and found this page: iain tait | crackunit.com – Episode Page on Yahoo! Podcasts

It looks like I’ve set up a Podcast for this content, which I haven’t. And I’d be scared of doing so for copyright reasons. Especially when they’ve added a ‘download (it’s free!)’ link.

Big record labels take note, it wasn’t me, it was Yahoo! what done it, honest. Anyone got any clues on how this might have happened? It looks like Yahoo! are scraping (in the nicest possible way) for podcastable content and sticking it into their directory…

technorati tags:, , , ,

Turn Yahoo RED and Raise Money

Yahoo amex

American Express RED are trying to rasie £10k to fight AIDS in Africa today. All you have to do is click on a banner on the front page of Yahoo.co.uk (and it doesn’t even take you anywhere!). Each click raises 25p.

Click here to do it! (31st May only)

And the fun bit, once they hit £10k the homepage of Yahoo.co.uk turns red. (May only be available to UK IP addresses).

Confession – I may have had something to do with this (sorry).

UPDATE: We did it, hooray! See below.

We did it - turned the Yahoo! home page red

More on Participation

the 72:1.8 ruleFollowing on from the earlier post about people participating in communities I thought this post contained some great stats: The 1% Rule: Charting citizen participation. Points to the fact that 1% of Yahoo! Group members start groups and 10% of visitors ‘synthesize’ (or interact) with that content. On Wikipedia 1.8% of users have submitted 72% of the content.

The 72:1.8 rule isn’t as catchy as the 80:20 rule. But at the same time when people start banging on about user generated content it’s always handy to have some numbers like this in the back pocket. Read more.