"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
Metafilter is laying off 3 of its staff, including long time moderator and frequent moral compass Jessamyn who is moving on to Internet Archive’s Open Library. November 2012, Metafilter experienced a sharp drop in traffic. Slate asks "Why has Google forsaken Metafilter?" But the problem is endemic of a larger issue. Google is breaking the internet. [more inside]
Looking at the rest of the top search results for Christmas is like getting into a time machine that takes you back to a bizarro 2001 in which every single web surfer is a sucker. There are "Hot Links!" and "Fun Things to Do." What we see is the ad hoc, de facto social network formed by people who type Christmas into a search engine. And man, that network is like MySpace for your great aunt who has too many cats. [more inside]
"Schema ...provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags, that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers. Search engines including Bing, Google and Yahoo! rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages. " [more inside]
Age of the Algorithm. In the age of the algorithm, you can get just about anything you think you want, learn everything you think you need to know, by clicking on a link or typing a few words into a search bar. On SEO, content farms, old media, and 'online sweatshops.' (From Maisonneuve.)
Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, goes beta. Cribbed from live.com, the layout for bing is... strangely familiar. Early reviews are mixed, with mixed results, mostly noting that the results less useful than google, especially when it comes to google.
DMOZ Editor(s) seeking extortion for continued inclusion is putting further smudge on the "volunteer" directory. Seems lots of folks have had their hands out over inclusion in the DMOZ, so why hasn't a business been built out of it? Is Best of the Web positioning itself as Google Bait?
Google delists bmw.de. Google employee Matt Cutts reports on the removal of BMW's German web site from Google's index as a punishment for using webspam techniques to increase its search engine ranking. Webmasters and search engine optimizers discuss the issue at WebmasterWorld (no subscription necessary, just follow the link on the page) with a predictable mix of attaboys and dismay at Google's power.
Who gives, who gets... and surprise, Google is on top. I always figured that the search engines had a symbiotic relationship, but playing with this Search Engine Decoder to actually see it is far more entertaining. And, I'd never heard of Overture, but it seems like all the big boys pay them for content. The Decoder is hosted by Search This, which "[provides] search engine optimization and web marketing strategies for the everyday web designer." I guess that's a few of us...
Amazon spamming search engines? Looking around for reviews on Cooper tires, I came across 2 links in the top 20 search results on Google for sites that look legitimate, but are actually redirect pages to Amazon.com (which doesn't even sell auto tires!). What's going on here? Since when is it legitimate for large corporations to spam search engines!??