October 21, 2009
I’ve noticed I’m getting an increasing amount of spam comments on this blog that looks almost handwritten (might even be) and is much more difficult to spot than spam of the traditional format. However, it’s still identifiable as the kind of comment that either doesn’t belong, has been hand crafted to try to trick you or is just plain lazy. What’s the point?
Here’s a prime example with my comments in red:
Hi Patrick, (my name’s not Patrick, it clearly says Steve on the sidebar)
Right on target with this post. Customer service/care will always be about hearing the customer, delivering, and learning for continuous growth. Doesn’t matter what size business — even the smallest setup — if you have an online presence it must be a good one! (A relevant comment to the post).
Nice to hear from you again. I am on Twitter as (katenasser). (I don’t know you and you even think my names Patrick). Check out my video on my website for humorous and inspirational customer servie talk. (What? Customer servie? Humorous video?)
All the best from this customer service fanatic… Kate.
I mean, thanks for the comment Kate, but at the least get my name right and it would be nice if you didn’t suppose to know me.
Kate titles her comment as ‘Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach’ and has an authentic looking web presence here katenasser.com but is she just looking for an inbound link and some free publicity? Where’s the value in her comment?
So come on Kate Nasser, get in touch and tell me why I should approve your comment (and why you think my name’s Patrick)?
October 20, 2009
Just came across an interesting post by Bill Slawski on the subject of a patent granted to Google last week titled ‘Search result ranking based on trust‘. There’s been a lot of talk about trustworthiness being the next big factor to be considered in search engine algorithms but it makes me wonder how useful it would be in reality.
When I use Google to search for something what I’m really looking for is the most relevant result I can find which will answer my query. To be honest, I often couldn’t care less how much I trust the source as long as it’s reputable (maybe rep is a better factor?).
Where I can see a trust (or rep) factor being useful is with weeding out spam search results who have got themselves a really good natural search ranking. Beyond that I’m not convinced it’s required for normal web search (except perhaps as an option or it would be useful in a search through social streams like Twitter, but here I’m referring to the kind of search you do through http://www.google.com).
You see, to some extent trust is in the eye of the beholder and a very difficult thing to turn into a scientific algorithm. A source could be trustworthy to one person and not at all to another depending on many factors. So to really put an accurate trust rating on web pages is going to be extremely difficult (I think).
Would Google’s time be better spent working on relevancy ranking and using trust sparingly as a factor to filter out spam results? Or do you think trust has a bigger place in the future of search algorithms (maybe trust/rep on news/blog search)? Interested to hear your thoughts…
Kayak, the meta-search travel site, have joined the trend for opening up and setting your data free by launching Kayak Trends. Trends allows you to mine through data on what’s actually being searched for on Kayak. You can view the most popular flight destinations (to or from any airport in the world) and the most searched hotels in popular destinations. The data is available on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis and I think it’s really powerful data. Why is it powerful? Because it is a clear indication of consumer trends in travel, what are people looking for right now and how do those trends change across the year. That’s got to have some uses to other people than Kayak and their website visitors.
Travel sites have a huge amount of data on search trends and consumer preferences run through their booking paths and search forms. I can’t think of anyone else who has opened this up in the online travel world. Plenty of other travel companies have merchandising lists of their top destinations etc but they are based on their sales priorities as well as popularity so quite different to this almost realtime user data (if of course it is true data and not tainted). I know of online travel firms who feed this kind of data back into their web apps but not any who give it away in this manner.
So some powerful consumer intent data, I can think of a number of ways you could use this. This is great data for anyone (competitors, affiliates) who want to know what to target destination or hotel wise. Focus on these destinations, if they’re being searched for on Kayak users want product associated with them. Put them on your websites, marketing assets and in your ECRM shots. People must surely be looking at how they can monitor or scrape this data to inform their merchandising decisions, PPC/SEO campaigns (Bid more on the destinations and hotels that are hot on Kayak. Can you assume they will be searched for more on Google when they’re in the Kayak Trends? Long tail flight terms anyone?). You could use it to inform the biasing of your search results, or even to help you highlight areas where your inventory may be lacking.
Kayak will I’m sure have thought of all of that and probably won’t be bothered as their business model is to get as many users through the site and referred on to the agents, airlines and operators from their search results, which they do extremely well.
It’s a great move and I applaud Kayak for being so open. I hope that something positive comes from this; that other online travel sites see this data and realise the power of it, and so start to collect and utilise the data their own websites generate. Too many don’t do that (you may be surprised to hear).