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Interview with Blake Ross of Firefox

Over at Red Couch, Shel Israel has a really interesting interview with Blake Ross, one of the key Firefox pioneers. It's hard to believe that he is still only 19! There are some pretty neat insights into how Firefox was able to gain so much global popularity from 'humble' beginnings. From a blogging perspective, it is interesting to see how he used the blog - first, as a tool which "chronicled our work on the fledgling browser" and, more recently, the blog has "served as a hub for a series of marketing activities."

Blake Ross describes in the article what he calls the buzz pyramid:

1. Long before the mainstream or the mainstream media heard about Firefox, the blogosphere was buzzing about it daily. The blogosphere, of course, represents just a tiny fraction of Internet users, so this is the apex of the pyramid.

2. The “intermediate media” hears the buzz at the apex and reports that “everyone’s talking about Firefox.” These are outlets like c|net that sit between mainstream media and personal websites, and indeed from their tech perspective, “everyone” really is talking about Firefox-.

3. The mainstream media hears the buzz among the intermediate media and again carries the story that “everyone” is talking about Firefox. “Everyone” is still the blogosphere, but in the context of ABC, USA Today and other mainstream outlets, people interpret it to mean, well, everyone. ....

4. Word spreads throughout the mainstream and mainstream media continues to cover the story, propagating the word further. A growth cycle is created that Firefox has yet to break out of as the pyramid’s base grows ever larger.

It's interesting to see how a small minority of people could influence the many millions (26 million at last count) to download this browser. There are a number of keys to Firefox's success, but one of the main ones is its ability to give its community a number of tools that they could use to sell the product for them. The Spread Firefox website allows users the ability to download Firefox buttons, logos and other marketing tools; invites them to come up with the most original dipslays for Firefox and even offers them a free blog, where they can discuss the pro's and cons of the service.

It would seem that the company has truly embraced the Open Source Movement, from Open Source Software Development to Open Source Marketing.

Related Links
The Rise and Rise of Firefox
What is Open Source Marketing


Yahoo! Set to Launch 360° – their New Blogging Tool

It looks like Yahoo! is set to launch a new blogging tool within the next month. Yahoo! 360° will initialy be made available to a restricted number of users from March 29th, having extensively tested the product in-house since last year. The new service will bring together Yahoo!'s existing services like IM Messaging, photo albums, local search and groups. The service is being touted as a 'Web log and social networking' service. Julie Herendeen, vice president for network services at Yahoo!, had this to say about the service:

"It's really about keeping connected to people you know," she said. "Yahoo 360 allows consumers to conveniently connect with the people they care about by creating and sharing blogs, photos and other content across Yahoo."

Herendeen said Yahoo had no immediate plans to add advertising to
the service. Given the number of people who have Yahoo! accounts - 165 million - the company could bring blogging to a far wider audience. At present, though, it is unclear whether they will be pitching the product at the 'teen' market or at older users. Here is Michael Liedtke's take on it in the E-commerce Times:

Expanding into social networking and blogging marks another significant step in Yahoo's push to make its Web site even more essential to the personal and professional pursuits of its users.

The service is also meant to encourage Yahoo's most frequent visitors to create and share more content, a process the company hopes will attract even more people to its site. If it can increase its audience's size and give visitors more reasons to stick around longer, Yahoo would become an even more attractive marketing vehicle for advertisers.

If you'd like to take part in the public beta test, fill in the Yahoo 360°beta test form.

Via: Online Marketing Blog

Related Web Articles
Yahoo Tests Blend of Blogging, Networking (E-Commerce News)

Yahoo 360 takes spin through blogosphere
(CNET)
Yahoo Gets Social (Red Herring)
Yahoo Finaly Hits Blog Scene (Internet News)


‘State of the Blogosphere’ from Technorati

Technorati boss David Sifry is writing an interesting series of reports called ‘The State of the Blogosphere’, on his Sifry’s Alerts blog - he posted on this subject in October at the Web 2.0 conference and, due to the dynamic nature of the industry, felt it was time for an update. Here are some facts gleaned from Technorati:

  • 7.8 million weblogs on Technorati, and 937 million links
  • this figure is double the number in October 2004
  • the blogosphere is doubling in size around every 5 months
  • in 20 months it has grown 16 times
  • 30-40,000 new blogs every day!!

The article
spends a fair bit of time discussing the impact that spam blogs have had on the industry and how Technorati is tackling the issue - the comments to this article also raise some interesting issues. The second instalment from David Sifry focuses on posting -
here is a flavour:

It is interesting to note that posting volume suffered a decline during the months of November and December, 2004. A large part of this decline is the reduction in postings about US politics after the election in early November.

I must say I had a very positive user experience from Technorati last year. Unlike Search Engines Technorati, and other blog search engines, offer visitors real-time results. Post now and your article will be listed within a quarter of an hour. Within a short time period of having written an article about Technorati for this blog, I received an email from David Sifry thanking me for writing about his company and advising me that my site didn't work in Firefox (it does now!). Bloggers can be such nice people!


Comment Spammers Getting Smarter

One of the great things about blogging is that it allows you to share your knowledge and easily develop a network of contacts, often relating to the subject you most blog about. Tools such as comments, which let people know what you think about what they've written; trackback, that let other bloggers know that you have written about them and blogroll, which is simply a list of links to your favourite blogs, make blogging a great social and business tool. Jennifer Rice on her blog, What's Your Brand Mantra?, says that people on her Blogroll had one of 3 charactersitics:

[Number 1] "They participated on my blog through comments and trackbacks. They already established themselves as part of my community, and I thought they had some smart things to say. I've met many of them in person, and have probably had email exchanges with almost all of them. (or even hired them, as was the case with Johnnie)."

Unfortunately, blogs have also become havens for those looking to improve their search engine rankings the unethical way. Following the principle that Google likes links from websites with high PR's (5 or 6 and above), they are now leaving comments across the blogosphere. Initially, I had all manner of comment spam from porn, poker and peddlars of Japanese cars. It was obvious to spot them as their comments usually consisted of strings of keywords or incoherent nonsense.

Recently though, I have been receiving comments which actually comment on the article in question. Here are two examples:

Marketing Tom Article: How People Read Google Search Results
Author - Online Degree
Comment: Finally some real scientific results!  While many of us who have multiple websites at various positions on Google's pages 1 and 2 felt some of this to be true, seeing it confirms the theory.  Great Stuff!

Marketing Tom Article: Developing Links - part 2
Author - Dolphin Gifts
Comment: We should also mention that there are tools that facilitate this process of determining who is linking to your competitors. I won't mention any by name but they can be very useful.

Aside from the URL, the clear indicator that it was spam came from the fact that both the above had the same IP address and both were posted within a few minutes of each other. The worrying part of this is that these people are now taking their time to read articles and leave messages which seem to be legitimate. Which begs the question of whether their comments should be deleted. I took the view that they should.


How People Read Google Search Results

Google_search_view_1

There's an interesting story on Search Engine Watch about how people view the search results on Google. The actual research itself was carried out by search marketing firms Enquiro and Did-it and eye tracking firm Eyetools. The result shoudl certainly make marketers sit up and take notice.

It would appear that most searchers see information in the shape of an "F", with people's eye movements starting from the top-left of the search results and moving down, then jumping across to the right (where the first Google Adwords appear). Here are some of the results:

Organic Search Results Viewed:
Rank 1 - 100%
Rank 2 - 100%
   
Rank 3 - 100%
   
Rank 4 - 85%
   
Rank 5 - 60%
   
Rank 6 - 50%
   
Rank 7 - 50%
   
Rank 8 - 30%
   
Rank 9 - 30%
   
Rank 10 - 20%

Chris Sherman points out that though Organic Search Engine Marketing is far more popular with web searchers, many firms are ignoring its potential in favour of Paid Google Adword listings.

Original Source
Eyesite (Seth Godin)


Effective use of RSS Feeds by Morgans Hotel Group

Whilst searching for hotels in New York, I was pleasantly surprised to see one hotel group, Morgans Hotels, making good use of RSS feeds to keep guests up-to-date on latest offers. Their 'Special Offers' page invites visitors to sign up to their RSS  Feed.

Not sure what a RSS Feed is? Well, here's how the Morgans Hotel group clearly put it:

"A news feed (also known as an RSS feed) is a listing of a website's content in a news-headline format. It is updated whenever new content is published to the site. News readers "subscribe" to news feeds (websites that provide the service), which means they download lists of stories at an interval that you specify (every 30 minutes, for example), and present them to you in your news reader."

And the objective of this RSS Feed?

"Morgans Hotel Group uses this method to make our users aware of the latest special offers, often exclusive to our site, as soon as they are released. There is no cost to receive the news feeds from Morgans Hotel Group."

Great stuff! Judging by a recent article on Robert Scoble's blog, he would be well pleased


Partial Indexing on Google

Every so often you will find that some of your web pages have not been listed fully by Google, this is called 'partial indexing'. And it happened to me this week. The Marketing Tom blog has around 253 pages listed on Google and yesterday it reported to me that around 60 of these pages were partially indexed. Let me explain the difference. This is a 'fully' indexed page:

Fullyindexed_4

Whilst this is a partially indexed page:

Partially_indexed_1

I don't want to go into great detail about the issues that relate to partially indexed pages but suffice to say that searches on Google will find the first example, but not the second. For me, this could mean that around 25% of my pages are redundant on Google.

What's the solution? Well, I could wait until Google indexes these pages again (don't forget it does have the URL but not the content) or I could try and help Google find the page again. In order to do this I need to create keyword links to these pages. Given the very nature of blogs I know that Google will firstly index my home page (www.marketingtom.com) within a day or 2 and it will later index the articles as their own individual pages with their own page titles. So, let's put some keyword links down:

Online Advertising and the User Experience
Search Engine Marketing - Meta Tags (Step 4)
Domain Name Mapping, Go Daddy and Typepad
Page Titles - How to use them effectively
Firefox - a viral marketing phenomena
How PR companies use the Web to generate impressive returns
Google Adwords - useful tutorials
Tracking a DMOZ editor
Jux2 Search Engine Tool

Please keep checking these pages to see how Google indexes them - simply type the URL in to the Google search box.


Technorati’s Top 100 Blog List

If you want to know what is going on in the world of blogs, you should make your way over to Technorati. Technorati is a "real-time" blog search engine, which measures the pulse of the blog world every few minutes. Unlike Google, where the spider will index your site every 24 hours (at best), Technorati's search engine will update your blog listing within minutes of posting.

Here is the Top 10 from Technorati's Top 100 List of "most authoritative blogs, ranked by the number of sources that link to each blog."

  1. Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things   Bubble_h17 18,705 links from 11,822 sources
  2. Instapundit.com  Bubble_h17 14,336 links from 9,351 sources
  3. Gizmodo  Bubble_h17 9,802 links from 7,595 sources
  4. Photologs and MoBlogs: Buzznet  Bubble_h17 97,049 links from 7,485 sources
  5. art  Bubble_h17 10,406 links from 7,438 sources
  6. Davenetics* Pop + Media + Web  Bubble_h17 7,547 links from 7,390 sources
  7. SuicideGirls > Girls > Ciel  Bubble_h17 8,052 links from 7,160 sources
  8. Penny - Arcade  Bubble_h17 7,873 links from 6,844 sources
  9. Daily Kos  Bubble_h17 9,869 links from 6,825 sources
  10. eBaum's World - Media For The Masses - funny videos, flash games, jokes, clean humor, hilarious flash, funny pics, office humor  Bubble_h17 9,290 links from 6,347 sources

Hell, in the time it has taken me to write this article, Technorati has already  updated this list!!


Robert Scoble, Blogging and the Fall of PR as we Know it (or not)

Scoble

The Economist has a great article on Robert Scoble - Chief Humanising Officer - the highest profile blogger on the web and Microsoft employee, to boot.

In a nutshell:

Robert Scoble started out as a blogger for NEC. He is now an employee of Microsoft. His blogging profile landed him the job of Microsoft’s “Technical Evangelist”. What does the job consist of? Mainly blogging!

Now, isn’t that cool!

His weblog, Scobleizer, is one of the most widely read blogs on the Internet. He discusses Microsoft, competitor products, his family and many other things that come into his mind. It's all to do with putting things into context - if you know about the man, you'll know where he's coming from.

However, Robert Scoble has managed to succeed where PR types have failed before. As the Economist states,

“he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience.”

Scoble previously worked for NEC where his technical support skills, delivered through his blog, became a must-read. Microsoft heard of this and thought that they could do with Robert Scoble’s evangelical skills.
The Economist discusses for the most part the impact that blogging is having on traditional PR and how the threat of litigation could put a halt to the some of the key tenets of blogging: namely, its honesty and immediacy.

Original Source
If it's in the Economist it must be true (Marketing Playbook)