There's a great story in the latest edition of Wired, entitled The Firefox Explosion, about the spread of Firefox. It discusses the role of the 2 main men behind Firefox, Blake Ross, "an angular, hyperkinetic 19-year-old Stanford sophomore with spiky black hair" and Ben Goodger, "a stout, soft-spoken 24-year-old New Zealander." Ross, it appears, was fixing bugs for Netscape at the age of 14 and then decided to start a splinter group. When Ross went to college Goodger took over and Firefox ended up being released in late 2004.
To date there have been 25,241,830 Downloads. In 99 days!!
The article also talks about how one user, Rob Davis, fed up with Internet Explorer and enamoured with Firefox instigated a campaign to raise enough money to post an ad in the New York Times; he did, by getting 10,000 fans to donate $25. A large portion of the article is obviously taken up by the effect that Firefox's success has had on Microsoft's Internet Explorer. And boy, is it having an effect.
Firefox - a viral marketing phenomena
Nick Denton heads up Gawker Media, publishers of some of the highest profile blogs on the Internet: Gawker, Gizmodo and now Lifehacker (sponsored by Sony), which was discussed in a previous article. In a video interview, which can be seen on iMediaConnection, he discusses how he got into blogs, the role of PR and Marketing in relation to blogs and the future of blogging. Interesting stuff!
Look for the iMedia Video link and select Nick Denton from the dropdown list.
A9 has just launched a new search product, in partnership with Yellow Pages, which gives users the opportunity to get address details, view maps and even photographs of business addresses. Coupled with the ability to view books (through Amazon), a search engine (results enhanced by Google) and image search (enhanced results by Google).
According to an article in Business Week - Amazon Elbows Into Online Yellow Pages:
Few of A9's individual features are unique, but they're wrapped together in a package that Sherman thinks will be appealing to people who want a more visceral connection with businesses in their local communities. Search on "sushi," for instance, and the site -- which knows where visitors live from their Amazon account or deduces it from their network address -- brings up a list of nearby sushi joints along with a map showing where they are. They also can click a button to call the business using a free Internet phone service.
Here’s what A9 had to say about the process of capturing the images:
Using trucks equipped with digital cameras, global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and proprietary software and hardware, A9.com drove tens of thousands of miles capturing images and matching them with businesses and the way they look from the street.
Currently 10 US cities have been mapped with 20 million images with plans to roll it out across the entire US.
Russell Beattie on the other hand had this to say about the new technology in an article entitled A9: "Never been done before?"
My bullshit meter went off when I was watching the A9 video about how they added photos to their yellow pages search, and how something like this had "never been done before." Uh, yeah. That's wrong.
My old apartment in Madrid. That's from a yellow pages service called QDQ in Spain. You can pan and zoom and walk around all of madrid, with photos on all sides every 10 meters.
I can vouch for that, here’s an article I wrote in February of last year: Photographic Street Map. Still, I think it's a very cool new addition to A9 - I'd just like to know when those trucks will start rolling out across Europe!
A9 Debuts "Yellow Pages" - Now *That's* Local (John Battelle's Searchblog). Incidentally, it is well worth reading his article in Business 2.0.
Chris Sherman, Associate Editor of SearchEngineWatch, always has some good tips to offer search engine marketers. His article entitled Three Cool Search Gizmos is no exception and he lets readers know about 3 neat tools that marketers will find of use. The first, and by far my favourite, is called Jux2, which is a search engine that compares the results across (at present) 3 major search engines: Google, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves. The search results are neatly displayed and can show which websites appeared on 3, 2 or 1 search engines. As the guys at Jux2 say:
Using jux2, we learned that search engines are more different than people think, typically sharing fewer than 3.5 of their top 10 results (see the other statistical data). We also found that a comparative tool like jux2 gives users far more control over their searches and, in many cases, better search results than from any single search engine.
The second tool comes from Whois Source which lets you know about: "domain ownership, server details and other information about web sites". The third is Printer Friendly, which is a bookmarkelt that scans a page for the "printer friendly" button and loads that into a new browser window - ideal for quite a few marketing sites!
The TypePad tool has enabled me to develop two very successful web logs, Marketing Tom and Mad About Madrid. So I thought that I would do some promotion for them and recommend that you go and take up their 'buy one, get one free' offer. They also have some great subsription rates, too.
The other day someone left a comment on one of my articles asking whether I thought it a good idea to hire a blogger to promote the benefits of a company. Apparently, a company called Inkspress has paid Jeremy Wright, a prolific blogger, $3350 to develop a blog for them and to write between 5-10 articles a week (over 3 months). It looks like Mr Wright had auctioned his talents off at eBay: Blogger for Hire - Start or Improve Your Blog. On further inspection I noticed that quite a few people were auctioning their blogging services on eBay.
Here's what Darren Barefoot, another blogger, has to say on his auction, Rent a Blogger - Online Marketing and Technology Expert
What do you get for winning the auction?
? If you don't have a weblog, I'll set one up for you. See below for my qualifications.
? Three months worth of blogging, with a minimum of five posts a week. These posts will typically include company news and events, tips and tricks about products and services, industry news and opinion pieces.
? Consulting services on blogging and, more importantly, monitoring the blogosphere. Learn who's talking about your company, and respond appropriately to what they're saying. I'm able to begin blogging as soon as you're ready. Feel free to email me with questions regarding the offered services or any other aspect of this auction.
In reply to the question, yes, I do think it a good idea to hire someone with expert knowledge of blogging to put the foundations in place for the development of a blog. Developing a blog can take a lot of time and effort and it's a good idea to ask soemone who's been there before how to do it.
However, in both the above examples the people will only be in place for a finite period of time and it will then be down to the company itself to take over the reins. In order for a blog to work it has to be able to produce content that resonates with the target audience and it needs to be updated quite frequently. It will be interesting to see how the bloggers get on outside their field of expertise and, as importantly, to visit the respective blogs once they have 'left the building'.
In an article entitled Crazy like a Firefox, Rebecca Lieb says that the Firefox web browser realy is, "a kick-ass browser. It's light, stable, and almost infinitely customizable." Incidentally, it's free and its beta was only launched on Tuesday (9th November). Firefox also appears to be the most successful viral marketing campaign ever on the Internet, generating since Tuesday 1 million downloads per day!!; got 100,000 websites to display banners and buttons and, through the Firefox community raised $250,000 to get an full-page advert in the New York Times.
Looking on the Spread Firefox website I saw some of the tools that they are using to generate such publicity:
In order to build community with college students, Firefox decided to "put out a call for a volunteer to lead a massive grassroots marketing effort targeted at college students." After an overwhelming amount of applications they decided to appoint 6 people.
Here's an interesting article on Google Adwords from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch. Entitled Google Lays Out Content Guidelines, it discusses Google's decision to publish its content policy. The company has been much criticised in the past for not letting advertisers know the reasons why their ads have been rejected. This will hopefully answer the critics. You can find Google's content policy on their website: Content Policy and you may be interested in Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines, too.
This page is well worth looking at to give you an idea of where search engine results come from. I wrote an article last year which mentioned this chart (Which are the main search engines?) but the page seems to have been updated using Flash in the interim - it is much more effective. The map indicates whether the results a search engine sends/receives are primary, secondary, directory or paid results. A pdf version can also be found on this site.
Search Engine Relationship Chart