Saturday, April 30, 2005

Liquid mice at Engadget

At Engadget they were so bored with their dull mice, they've created an entirely new species: liquid filled rodents. Looks like something out of a tacky souvenir shop. Falling snow is optional, apparently. No top ups needed.

As my wife would put it: "now why couldn't you have thought of something like that?".

Calm down dear, it's a commercial...

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Content Bonanza

Content is King! has been the adage of the Search Engine marketing community for quite some time now. Build quality, interesting, unique content and lots of it too and they will come. The spiders and the searchers that is.

Building a large property with loads of keyword rich spiderable content can be compared to weaving a large fishing net. The larger the net, the larger the catch, or so the theory goes.

Blogging and RSS newsfeeds for example are the results of the quest for ever more and ever fresh content.

Content providing Websites are mushrooming. Hosted content, Client Side content, articles, you name it and someone provides it, often at very low cost.

Google alone has indexed an estimated 5 billion new Web pages in the last 2 – 3 years. That’s about 5 million pages per day!

Most of these indexed pages never get seen by human eyes. Tucked away at the tail end of the SERPs they simply don’t get found by searchers. Most documents remain nothing more than index filler.

And let’s face it: how much can really be written in a unique way about any given topic without rehashing existing documents? There is a limit, a glass ceiling as it were.

In terms of search results for most search topics, the supply generally far outweighs demand.

No one denies that high quality content is what searchers are looking for. But by generating ever more content on often the same topics aren’t we simply but ineffectively trying to out do the next guy?

The content bonanza: where will it end…

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

New PageRank: a reverse Sandbox?

This blog is barely two months old and its homepage has been assigned a Google toolbar PR of 5. It sure is heart warming to see the little green bar fill up. But will it last? In my experience definitely not. The assigned value is not only too high, I’ve also seen this happen to one of our other sites. That site reached an inexplicable PR 6, which lasted for about two months, before dropping back to a more middle of the road 4.

How can this temporary PR phenomenon be explained? Well, the crystal ball is out of service again, so I’ll have to guess. My assumption is that the algo “guesses” the PR a promising site may attain in the future. But when the links don’t materialise, the toolbar PR shows it’s true colours, after some months. Call it a reverse sandbox.

Someone mentioned that in some cases pages that aren’t even indexed yet show some green. Could Google be extrapolating from other, indexed pages from the same domain?

Reciprocal Linking is still Good

Although there is a little less fuss about link building and PageRank (PR) today than, say, a couple of years ago, the topic still attracts a lot of attention in the forums. PR remains an important influence on SERPs. And for most of us, reciprocal links remains the only viable link building strategy.

But it’s now fashionable to claim that reciprocal linking is dead, doesn’t work, doesn’t matter, can penalise your pages or even get your pages banned.


In particular the idea that reciprocal links can get you penalised or banned is the result of simplistic and warped reasoning that doesn’t stand the test of a little scrutiny.

At the heart of this reasoning lie two central “ideas”:

1. Google and consorts need to combat the use of automated link building methods.
2. The algo’s wisdom is infinite.

While point 1. may be something Google may wish to do, it largely remains wishful thinking and not strictly necessary (see further down). Detecting a certain practice is one thing but making sure that a malicious competitor cannot emulate that practice is quite another. By emulating I mean making it look like one of their competitors is engaging in that practice.

Making it look like someone is reciprocally linking is free and easy (I’m not suggesting you do this). Just sign up a competitor site to, using your own email address. Choose a text anchor and description. Reciprocate to incoming requests from your own site. Technically it isn’t reciprocal linking but it sure as hell looks like it: always the same text anchor and always pointing to the same page: these are telltale signs of reciprocal link building. Most other link building programs or software would allow you to construct similar Google bombs.

But, if you can think of this, then so can Google. Who links to you and how is outside your control and it cannot penalise you. Here’s how they put it:
From Google’s “Webmasters facts and fiction”:

Fiction: A competitor can ruin a site's ranking somehow or have another site removed from Google's index.

Fact: There is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. Your rank and your inclusion are dependent on factors under your control as a webmaster, including content choices and site design.

That brings me to point 2. To detect these practices and emulations would technically be extremely challenging, while completely unnecessary. Instead, it’s much easier for an algorithm to evaluate a number of positive criteria to determine value of a particular link. There are likely to be quite a few aspects of each link that are taken into consideration. The net result is that natural links prevail over reciprocal ones, without actual detection of reciprocal links.

So, whilst reciprocal links have less value, there is no reason to stop reciprocation or change linking strategy completely.

Monday, April 25, 2005

All rooms have ensuite restaurants...

Once in a while you come across something funny on the Net and when you’ve caused it yourself, it’s even funnier.

I quote from a link building confirmation email, received after what must have been a reaaally long day!


Your link has been added to our site.

Link details:URL: ********

Title: The George Hotel, Whitby, North Yorkshire

Description: The George Hotel, comprises a Hotel and B&B, as well as Public Bar (Rosy O'Grady's) and Italian Restaurant (Georgio's). All rooms have ensuite restaurants [sic]. Online bookings take [sic]. Locate [sic] opposite the railway station.

Category:Europe > London & UK

Thanks for participating.

Alex Van*******

Rooms with en suite restaurants: it’s a USP alright! But what about the bathrooms?

Thanks for participating…

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Google's Link Dampening Filter

For SEO’s and self-proclaimed equivalents, it’s considered a must to have at least an opinion on the supposedly new ways Google is finding to “punish” our link building strategies. Most of these views don’t stretch much beyond educated (and not-so-educated) guesses and aren’t based on a great deal of substance. Few and far between are those who admit to guesstimating, rather than actually knowing anything. Nothing wrong with some guess work, especially in the absence of anything more solid (like a paid spy inside Google – candidates apply here), but let’s not get carried away.

I get particularly annoyed with people who seem convinced that certain types of links can get you “penalized” [that word again!]. I think this goes back to about 10 years ago or so, when everyone was warned not to link to or get links from “bad neighbourhoods”. By the latter were usually implied link farms, FFA pages and such like. Well, linking to this kind of pages serves little or no practical purpose, so don’t do it. But you can’t be responsible for who links to you, bad neighbourhood or not. That would leave the door wide open for abuse by competing sites: anyone could submit your pages to a handful and more “bad neighbourhoods” and drop a mini Google bomb at your home page. Google Webmaster guidelines clearly state that you cannot be penalised for this, as it is completely out of your control.

I feel that the “out of your control” argument largely applies to just about any type of link and will elaborate with a few examples in my next post, in particular trying to defuse the reciprocal links controversy a little.

Proceeding by elimination, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that any new link dampening filter, in addition to those already in place (relevance of text anchor et al.), can only be based on a time stamp factor. Newer links, perhaps also from newer sites, would carry less weight for a period of time that has been called the “sandbox” period or “probation” period. That would be quite a fair algo tweak.

To be continued.

The George Hotel, Whitby, North Yorkshire

By Whitby we mean the small but picturesque seaside town in North Yorkshire, England. Whitby is perhaps best known as the town whose churchyard inspired Bram Stoker to write… Dracula. But Whitby is also the hometown of the famous discoverer James Cook.

One of Whitby's main streets:

(courtesy of

Nearby is the idyllic village of Robin Hoods Bay, which historically has nothing to with Robin Hood, apparently.

If you’re ever to visit Whitby, don’t forget to call in at
The George Hotel, near Whitby’s railway station for drinks, a meal or a bed for the night.

No, we're not biased. Just because we designed their site...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Demise of AllBusinessNews Newsletter

The once rather high-flying AllBusinessNews newsletter is no longer with us. This ezine must certainly have ranked in the top 50 most widely distributed newletters, at least in the Internet/SEO/ecommerce category. In an unusually candid statement the newsletter’s demise is blamed on waning interest. I quote:

Editorial Note: AllBusinessNews was launched by Jayde Online in 2003 and after 117 issues we decided to retire both the newsletter and the website. The decision was based on several factors the most important of which were waning reader interest and a scarcity of truly useful business articles.

But this is hardly world news, right? Right, but it does beg the question: if Jayde online can’t pull off running a newsletter what chance do small Webmasters have? With every man and his dog publishing an ezine, attention becomes very diluted and getting and maintaining readership not as easy as it might appear.

AllBusinessNews is now being replaced by the SEO-news newletter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Requiem for a Website

It’s official: **realtors****.com is no longer. I’m not going to reveal the site’s name because the parent Company is still in existence, albeit licking its wounds from its Internet misadventure.

**realtors**** LLC is a medium size real estate Company based in NewYork. They’ve been around the block a few times. The Company decided they too wanted to develop a Web presence to reinforce their business model.

An all whistles and bells, million dollar looking site was developed by a leading NY design firm, with the purpose of generating online leads.

At the eleventh hour the site owners contacted us to try and revive the site’s fortunes with some hefty Website promotion. But it was to no avail, after a lengthy period of sandboxing, a series of disastrous PPC campaigns and various SEO (mis)adventures later, **realtors**** decided to pull the plug and cut their losses.

So, what really happened? What happens to so many aspiring Webmasters, perhaps even the majority. They failed to ask themselves the most fundamental question: where will our traffic come from?

**realtors**** LLC were under the impression that if you just build a site, visitors will come. But for the vast majority of Companies that’s just another case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Unless you’re in a position to shout the site’s address from the rooftops by branding, TV, radio and media advertising, your Website’s traffic can only come from one source: search traffic.

And to get found in Search Engines, it’s pages have to rank high on relevant search terms. Your site has to be Search Engine friendly: lots and lots of spiderable content, lots of inbound, relevant links, a theme based structure, not too much graphical elements etc.

In contrast **realtors****.com was the exact opposite of a Search Engine friendly site. Instead it was a user friendly site with strong, convincing copy and graphics and clear and simple navigation pulling visitors to the application forms. But it had almost nothing to chew on for spiders and hence it was nowhere to be seen in most Search Engines.

I suspect that some leading design companies prey on absolute beginners to sell them sites with a high “wow!” factor, regardless of the new site owners’ objectives. These graphics rich, user friendly site sure are expensive to develop…

”Wow!” really doesn’t get you into the major SEs today…

Sticky Sites Rule the Internet

… is the "thought provoking" title of this week's featured article in SiteProNews. I’ve subscribed to this excellent ezine for several years now and still find it a good source of information, definitely one of the few I actually read.

But occasionally the featured article is ezine fluff, rather than substance. This week’s is about “stickiness”, a concept I thought had been dealt with adequately when years ago Shawn Casey in Mining Gold showed that stickiness wasn’t needed and could indeed be detrimental as a bandwidth guzzler that doesn’t do much for conversion.

Bonnie Jo Davis is a self-proclaimed Virtual Assistant, writer and article submission expert. In this article she certainly practices what she preaches, it’s kind of a… sticky article.

The Central tenet of her yarn is that content is the answer for all you traffic-challenged sites out there. A truer word hasn’t been written, so that’s not where the article goes off the rails.

But Bonnie stretches the content concept (and creates a sticky article!) by identifying some 14 different types of content that will ensure your visitors will stay longer and will return more frequently. I agree with quite a few of her proposed methods, so to me it’s a shame she includes some that are simply (quite literally) risible. So I’ll simply comment on what I feel works and what to avoid.

Articles – agree! The easy way to add interesting content and attract visitors and spiders alike.

Quotes – personally, there isn’t much I loath more than cheesy sayings and “motivational quotes”. Might work for some, but be prepared to make some visitors run for the hills! Not everyone likes kitch.

Puzzles - People love games and puzzles. (???) Sure they do but I thought you wanted paying customers, not playing children. Seriously, this is traffic generation without a purpose.

Forums – Agree. If it’s for you. A support forum is a great USP. And it can certainly attract targeted visitors. But to make it work you’ll need traffic first.

Feedback/Guestbook – Guestbooks? More or less a thing of the past due to serious abuse. Go for a forum instead.

Reviews – agree. Unbiased reviews attract attention. People like to read a review before buying.
Case Studies/Success Stories – OK, Bonnie, you’ve already made that point.

Jokes[flabbergasted, speechless]. Again, what do you want, paying customers or the chuckle brothers? Want a joke? You can find specialist joke sites by the ton, no need to supply jokes from your site though.

Newsfeeds – agree, but only if it suits your site.

Resource Directories – no one uses resource directories any more, that’s what Search Engines are for.

Newsletter & Archives – Newsletters are fine if you can get, maintain and grow the readership. If not they’re a resource gobbler.

Blogs – needless to say: an all thumbs up.

Job Listings – Turning your site into a makeshift jobcentre will not do much for your sales, it’s traffic you simply don’t need.

Testimonials – Bonnie, we got the picture long ago.

Bottomline? In the quest for traffic it’s often forgotten that only targeted traffic is of value. In Search Engine marketing less often means more… It's about sales, not clicks.

Monday, April 18, 2005 blog

Once in a while you stumble over a story that’s simply a little more important than the Search Engine wars or the latest fart/burp by/about Google.

I came across a blog by Steve Sanchez called SpriritualRedemption. Steve tells the story of years of abuse by the hands of a religious cult, the Spiritual Rights Foundation (or SRF) and how he eventually broke free and started on the road to recovery. The sect is also known as the Academy for Psychic Studies and was led by the late “Reverend” Bill Duby.

I’m not going to rehash Steve’s story, he tells it well himself. Steve has written a book about his experiences and runs a Web site:, where the book is for sale online.

Suffice it to say Steve’s story is another illustration of what people are capable of in terms of inflicting pain on their brethren. To quote the old father of existentialism J.P.Sartre: “l’Enfer, c’est les autres” (Hell, that’s the others).

Friday, April 15, 2005

Google Video goes Video

In Google’s own words, Google Video was about “Search recent TV programs online” rather than displaying actual videos.

But now Google Video is going… video!. The Google Video Upload program will allow anyone - amateur or professional - to upload their videos. Apart from pornographic or obscene material, anything goes.

WebProNews called it Flickr on steroids! You can also make money from it by charging people to view the content. And forefront Webmasters will undoubtedly find ways of driving targeted traffic to their site with this new piece of kit. I can actually hear their minds race in an attempt to get in there first, before the database gets clogged with the usual junk. My money’s on flash demos for “Work at Home” scams…

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Yahoo! Offers Free Web Sites

Yahoo! will offer free Web sites to the over 10 million US based businesses that currently don’t have a web presence. Yahoo! hopes to get compensated by generating contacts with potential ad buyers, as well as by enhancing the search experience of its searchers.

A basic listing, which is free, will offer a simple, 5-page brochure site displaying a business logo, name and contact info, service information, and links to other websites. An enhanced listing costs $9.95 per month and offers more information to Local-search users on the results pages including a bolded company slogan or tagline.

Both basic and enhanced Local listings come with the website creation offer and both will guarantee business information is represented in the Yahoo's local search directory and in Yahoos general index. An added bonus to having a Yahoo local listing site is that when it is included in Yahoo's index, it is open to spidering from all other search engines.

More details on the story here.

Google Micro Update?

On Friday 8 April a number of Search Engine marketing sites have dropped out of Google’s search results, starting speculation that a new algo update has been implemented. It would appear to be more of a micro update rather than anything near the scale of Florida or Allegra. Perhaps it's more of a tweak than an update.

One site in particular, SEO Inc, received a direct hit [pardon the pun]. SEO Inc had been ranking consistently at position 2 for search engine optimization, search engine placement and search engine positioning but now is nowhere to be seen in the top 30 results.

SEO Inc had previously been involved in a link spamming melee when a link trader started sending out large numbers of “link back” invitations (Source). We got one of those as well, inviting us to link to SEO Inc in return for a backlink from what was clearly a content devoid link farm. We declined.

It’s possible that this tweak and possibly future (micro?) updates will address the problem of PageRank manipulation by means of dubious link building strategies. Four weeks ago, a Search Engine optimizer revealed how easy he felt it was to manipulate the Search Engine rankings of their Client sites, by applying just these methods. Read the full article in Wired Magazine.

Fighting suspicious link building strategies is all very well but let’s hope innocent bystanders don’t get caught in the cross fire. A competing site could well order a devious link building campaign to penalize a site’s rankings. A kind of commercial Google bomb as it were, with the sole purpose of making the target site look like a “suspicious link builder”. Let’s not be naïve about this: Google et al. have always been reactive rather than proactive when it comes to fighting artificial manipulation of their search results.

Ask Jeeves TV ads

We commented briefly on the Ask Jeeves take over in an earlier post and a reader commented that a TV ads campaign is to be rolled out. Well, it’s here!

I saw the first ad two days ago on a British satellite channel. The Butler is back on telly! Very lively and colourful ads too. Looks like they’re trying hard to outdo the MSN Search campaign.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Spammer sentenced to nine years

A Loudoun County Circuit Judge has sentenced Jeremy Jaynes to nine years in prison in the nation's first criminal prosecution resulting from spam. Jaynes was convicted of sending unsolicited emails.

However, according to ABCNews, the sentence is being delayed while Jaynes appeals the court's ruling. The article goes on to say:

Judge Thomas Horne said that because the law targeting bulk e-mail distribution is new and raises constitutional questions, it was appropriate to defer the prison time until appeals courts rule.

Jaynes was convicted in November and found guilty of sending massive amounts of spam, offering bogus products. One such product was a non-existent "FedEx refund processor."

Whilst this conviction and sentence will be heralded by many as a triumph, in reality there's little reason for merriment. There are after all hundreds if not thousands that continue hardened spamming with impunity. A bit like that other “war” then… the war on drugs…

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Evidence of Sandbox effect? The smoking gun

The Google Sandbox effect is a real or imagined filter, which [alledgedly] causes new sites that aggressively build link campaigns to suffer delayed SERPs for a certain period. Time spent in the Sandbox would effectively constitute a probation period.

But as with all things Google, the assumption of algo filters is mainly based on equal parts of speculation, logical deduction, expected evolution, some experience and a good sprinkle of SEO intuition, rather than hard fact. Other than what is already in the public domain, Google is telling us little or nothing.

StepForth, a Canadian based SEO firm, claims Google’s latest patent application
”Information retrieval based on historical data” gives some serious clues to the existence of a Sandbox, or at least the intention of creating one. In particular the strong emphasis on all things historical would suggest these tools could be used in creating Sandbox type filters or algo tweaks.

The application doesn’t make for entertaining reading. Here’s the abstract:
A system identifies a document and obtains one or more types of history data associated with the document. The system may generate a score for the document based, at least in part, on the one or more types of history data.

And here’s the first four claims:

  1. A method for scoring a document, comprising: identifying a document; obtaining one or more types of history data associated with the document; and generating a score for the document based on the one or more types of history data.

  2. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more types of history data includes information relating to an inception date; and wherein the generating a score includes: determining an inception date corresponding to the document, and scoring the document based, at least in part, on the inception date corresponding to the document.

  3. The method of claim 2, wherein the document includes a plurality of documents; and wherein the scoring the document includes: determining an age of each of the documents based on the inception dates corresponding to the documents, determining an average age of the documents based on the ages of the documents, and scoring the documents based, at least in part, on a difference between the ages of the documents and the average age.

  4. The method of claim 2, wherein the generating a score for the document includes scoring the document based, at least in part, on an elapsed time measured from the inception date corresponding to the document.

Jim Hedger of StepForth concludes his reading of the application:
By the time a reader gets to item 63, the document has covered dozens of page, site, link and URL related factors that may or may not be included in the current working algorithm.

Certainly, it’s this type historical data that would be required to operate a Sandbox. Proof it ain’t but it’s as close as it gets…


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Search Engine Cloaking

Again, it was a junk email that brought Search Engine cloaking back to my attention.

Pete Bray, from is no stranger to my shores. I promote some of his stuff through ClickBank. But what if you try and separate the wheat from the hype? Left with anything? I think so. Their forum is really interesting and buzzing with people embracing cloacking and seemingly doing well into the bargain.

Defining cloaking is not easy because it can be used to achieve very different things. By means of cloaking a different page is delivered to SE spiders than to human visitors. The spider is directed to a Search Engine friendly, highly optimized page, the human visitor to the user-friendly version. If done correctly, neither spider nor human are any the wiser as to what has happened. Cloaking is also called IP delivery because the delivered page depends on the IP of the visitor.

Going by the many forum posts, articles, resource sites and blog posts on the subject of Search Engine Cloaking, the Internet broadly [and far too simplistically] divides the use of cloaking into “legitimate” and “illegitimate” use. I’m using quotes here because I feel these distinctions are inaccurate and even irrelevant.

Google, eBay, Amazon and many more blue chips use cloaking to serve their human visitors pages they feel serve these visitors in the best possible way. This kind of IP selective page delivery is widespread and undoubtedly enhances the visitor’s page visit experience.

But today, cloaking is mainly associated with SERP manipulation or even spamdexing. Cloaking as a traffic honey trap as it were.

Let me tell you this before I go any further. I don’t use cloaking myself. Why not?

Because I’m an “ethical” [that word again!] person? No, I am an “ethical” person but that’s not the reason. Ethics have nothing to do with my choice at all.

Because it doesn’t work? I wouldn’t know that: I haven’t tried it. Many others claim success with cloaking, I can’t.

Following the “debate” on To Cloak or Not To Cloak, I get the distinct feeling that few participants are honest and that most are motivated either by envy or schadenfreude. Let’s face it: whenever a Webmaster admits a technique has cost him or her dearly, perhaps by getting banned, there is no shortage of applause. And when someone else claims great success, the green eyed monster rears its ugly head.

Trying to manipulate the SERPs is not only not illegal, not illegitimate and not unethical, it’s what most of us try to do in some way or another (what else do you want us to do). Let’s be clear: there are no laws on SEO, only fuzzy SE guidelines. What’s the worst that could happen? You get a temporary ban. Prison is definitely not an option.

And most experts agree that detecting cloaking is very difficult, if done properly. And if you want to get detected, use cloaking the wrong way: by trying to cream off high volume but non relevant traffic, anyone, even the greatest Luddite will be able to tell something isn’t right and you’ll stand a good chance of being reported to the SE for poisoning the search results.

Many SEO firms that at least appear completely bona fida state between the lines they use cloaking to drive traffic to Client sites.

So why don’t I cloak (yet)? Guess I’m a coward. But I will try this on a lesser domain. Guess I’m also curious.

Here’s a Search Engine cloaking resource that comes with a busy forum.

Google Lunar Datacenter

Google is hiring! Plans to implement a Google Lunar Datacenter by 2007 will provide job opportunities on the moon, for the more adventurous job seeker. Travel expenses included. But don’t apply if you suffer from moon sickness…

I found this April 1 prank rather late but it’s still worth quoting. Cut and paste this into the browser: (page may not be up for much longer).

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

IPBlastomatic IP messaging ads

Using IP messaging to blast out junk ads to large numbers of unsuspecting recipients is nothing new. Personally I came across the first ads heralding this “revolutionary, spam free ad delivery method” some two years ago.

Frankly, from then on I was half expecting to see this become the next big major nuisance factor in Internet advertising but the idea doesn’t seem to have taken off all that much. I haven’t received a single ad yet [touch wood!] sent me a junk email reminding me that IP ad blasting is still around, so allow me to comment briefly.

The claim that IP broadcasting is spam free is true only in the purely technical sense. Indeed, CAN-SPAM doesn’t mention it, so IP message blasting is not illegal. But it’s certainly unsolicited [as well as highly annoying].

IP ads are also very limited in what they can carry. Hyperlinks e.g. are a no go. Here a made up example of what such an ad would look like.

IP ads are ideally suited to annoy large numbers of people. By broadcasting to a few hundred thousand of recipients, you may make a few sales but you’re likely to alienate far more people in return. Don’t do it.

If you're plagued by IP blasters then maybe this IP ads blocker may help.

Podcasting: a revolution?

I’m not going to bore you with a definition of podcasting or a lengthy technical explanation on how to get started [DON’T is my advice]: Google returns several million results on “podcast”, so you’re spoiled for choice.

Whenever something new hits the servers, one word invariably pops up: revolutionize. Predictably, things are no different with podcasting. But typically these revolutions are shortlived. Let’s look at a few of these so-called milestones.

Email has certainly changed the world but as a vehicle for commercial messages it’s defitely in decline, perhaps not so much in terms of volume as in terms of actual impact. Impact email advertising is now more than ever the realm of hardened spammers, rather than legitimate marketers.

Blogging itself is suffering a similar fate. The blogoshere explosion has led to over 4 million [I read somewhere] blog sites being created. The majority are poorly written, uninteresting and often unread cyber documents, which will sooner or later undoubtedly be abandoned by their authors once the novelty has worn off. The sheer number of bloggers means the majority of individual blogs have a hard time getting noticed. Most blogs end up being Google’s index filler, more than anything else.

But while a blogger really only needs to be able to write and access a computer, the next generation of video blogs or vlogs, will require the author to generate worthwhile streams of video. And that’s a lot harder that it appears at first glance. Most vlogs will never live up to anyone’s expectations.

Podcasting is unlikely to be much different. Mastering the technology and know-how will not stop even the biggest luddite but that doesn’t make anyone a broadcaster [Internet or not]. Again, the low technological threshold, will mean masses of wannabe podcasters can generate large numbers of amateurish, poorly executed podcasts, most of which will never get heard by anyone.

A revolution? I don't think so...But I’m sure there will be a few real podcasting gems as well.

Search Engine relationships

Who owns who and who supplies what to who in the search landscape is a constant source of bemusement to me. Several Websites report on these Search Engine relationships. This Search Engine Decoder Webpage is one of them. With a few clicks you can find out what’s what in search [or so it’s claimed].

Are these data up to date? Right now they appear to be. Will it stay that way? No idea.

Search Engine Saturation tool

I found an interesting Search Engine tool which allows you to find out which pages of your Website are indexed by the major Search Engines. Most webmasters would use the “” (or equivalent) search function to do this but this tool allows you to do this kind of search on 7 Search Engines at once: Google, MSN Search, Yahoo, AllTheWeb, HotBot, Altavista and Lycos. It's called a Search Engine Saturation tool. is also a PPC SE [no kiddin’!] and provides more free webmaster tools, including meta tag generator, linkpop checker, Whois lookup and stat counter.