January 23, 2009
Free linking is the lifeblood of the web, without it there would be no interconnections between websites in fact the web wouldn’t be so much a web as a load of separate entity sites which only come together in a list of search results. Imagine you had to get approval for every link you wanted to refer to? That could kill the web, couldn’t it?
There’s a court case going on in the U.S. which could decide the future for this. To me it seems impossible that this could ever get a ruling in favor of the plaintiff, but what if it did? Where would you see the web a year after linking was outlawed?
Court case details here (on The Boston Globe)… oops, that’s a link!
February 23, 2008
Some updates on the Microsoft-Yahoo approach:
Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft Platforms and Services Division sent an internal email yesterday. The email was obviously designed to be leaked (and ended up on Microsoft.com after it got into the blogosphere) judging by the language in it and the mentions of looking after both companies employees in the event of the merger going ahead. Trying to stop people jumping off the ship? Or just a good PR exercise?
Yahoo are facing another lawsuit, this time from some pension funds who claim that by declining the Microsoft offer they are not returning value to shareholders and are actually risking their investments by dragging it out looking for other parties to strike a deal with.
Lastly, Sergey Brin has expressed his nervousness at the deal going ahead, saying that ‘when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving’.
So no progress really, rumours still fly about Yahoo trying to find anyone else to deal with and Microsoft seem confident as ever that the deal will go through in the end.
February 15, 2008
November 14, 2007
So Yahoo has settled the lawsuit with a number of Chinese dissidents who had filed a court case against them. The terms of settlement have not been disclosed.
The case had alleged that Yahoo had provided the Chinese government with information which helped them to prosecute the dissidents. No word on exactly what type of information Yahoo had handed over although one would suspect it could be search histories, email details, chat histories and possibly lists of websites visited.
So have they really breached the human rights of these dissidents? Well, the liberal in me thinks that they should never hand over any identifiable information to anyone else, I would be outraged if my details were misused in this way. But then, wouldn’t the same happen in the UK? If I broke a law then Yahoo would happily hand over my email if the government requested it.
I guess the difference in this case is that they are dissidents living under a restrictive regime. Therefore by handing over the information Yahoo have put these poor people in danger which is inexcusable morally. However, it is understandable from a business point of view, if Yahoo refused they would have risked being switched off in the largest populated country in the world which would have damaged their business considerably.
I would imagine it was a pretty tough choice for Yahoo and although they chose the route which to me personally is wrong morally for them it was probably the right decision.
September 24, 2007
The popularity of Facebook is really starting to show, they’ve taken over the Myspace mantle and are getting hit by subpoenas.
In this latest one, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating Facebook accusing them of not keeping youngsters safe from sexual predators.
Undercover tests have been conducted of Facebooks safety controls and procedures which should protect innocent young users from solicitation by adults. These controls aren’t working according to Cuomo.
The problem here is that no matter how good the controls are users are likely to be too blaise about them and leave themselves open to approach. Quite how Facebook can control that I’m not sure. Also, the type of people who prey on youngsters are unfortunately likely to find ways around them by enticing users to interact in other ways.
It’s a really difficult issue; in an ideal world no one would ever be put in a position where this could happen, in reality with the internet being an open and free platform for communication, that will never be possible.
I hope the attorney generals office see this and instead of firing off legal requests go to the table with the big social networks and discuss ways this can be worked around.
August 19, 2007
Now American Airlines has sued Google for allowing other advertisers to use it’s trademarks as keywords in pay per click advertising. The airline accuses Google of selling the right to use American Airlines’ trademarks and service marks or “words, phrases, or terms confusingly similar to those marks” to competitors who then direct searchers to their own web sites.
This isn’t the first time Google has faced such a lawsuit. Geico sued Google for the same reasons some time ago and lost, and apparently other cases are on the backburner.
This confuses me a little… We use Google extensively for PPC advertising and our highest converting keywords are our brand terms (as you’d expect). Every so often we find a rogue affiliate or competitor bidding on our brand name and we always report this to Google and they remove the offending adverts for us. To enable this kind of response we had to register our brand terms with Google. They don’t really police it actively but they do take down offending ads when asked.
So if the above is possible, why don’t American Airlines just ask for them to be taken down? I’m guessing that they expect Google to do this automatically and to not even allow the ads to appear in the first place. To enable that would be a hugely complex and time consuming development for Google and a fundamental change to the Adwords system. I’m guessing Google would rather not have to do that. But if American Airlines lose (like Geico) then surely Google should not be taking down our competitors ads (as it’s not been deemed illegal)?
Who knows! What I do know is that brand keyword advertising is very lucrative, it returns excellent ROI and is any search marketers meat and drink. Any threat to the way brand term advertising works could have a massive impact on Googles Adwords revenue. If lawsuits like this keep cropping up it is possible Google could ban advertising on trademarked terms for all to stem the tide of subpoenas, that would make PPC a much less attractive proposition!