Archive | February, 2008

Yahoo Opens Up Search To Third Parties

26 Feb

From Ars Technica:

 As Yahoo tries to stave off a determined Microsoft takeover, the company has announced one of its most interesting new search innovations in recent memory. By opening up a new search platform for third parties to build upon, Yahoo search results will soon offer a lot more relevant information in the form of images, restaurant reviews, and virtually anything else developers can dream up.

Announced on the official Yahoo Search Blog, the company’s new open search platform will allow third parties to build browser plug-ins that can augment Yahoo search results and insert additional relevant data. As you can see in the example Yahoo provided, crowd-sourcing local review site Yelp has added a restaurant rating, contact information, and links for reviews and photos to a Yahoo search for “Higuma Japanese Rastaurant.”


Spammers to Gmail Captcha: Gotcha!

25 Feb

From The Register:

Spammers have broken captcha at Gmail with a 20% success record. With Gmail an unlikely domain to be blacklisted, spammers have gained a powerful, free and incredibly annoying new weapon with which to spread their penis enhancement and re-fi mortgage offers (one of which I did recently…not from a email, so save the hate mail….I’ll leave you in the dark as to which).

The spammers are believed to be the same ones that broke MSN’s Live captcha a few weeks ago.

Captcha (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) challenge-response systems, are used to prevent accounts being created until a user correctly identifies letters in an image, are designed to ensure requests are made by a human rather than an automated program. Websense reckons the latest Gmail Captcha hack is the most sophisticated it has seen to date.

Catalyst Conference

25 Feb

Warning corporate shill at work =).  

If you’ve ever wanted to pick the brain (and play golf at Pinehurst) of some of the smartest and most connected people in the industry like:

 Chris Shimojima, Vice President, Global Electronic Commerce of Nike

Stephanie Tilenius, General Manager, eBay North America

Mary Anne Gillespie, Vice President of Sales of PayPal

John Mracek, Vice President and General Manager, Distributed Commerce of 

Vince Monical, Director of Commerce and Analytics of Google  

Sebastian Gunningham, Senior Vice President, Merchant Services of      

Ben Ling, Director of Platform of Facebook

If the health and direction of e-comm is your thing, then stop by to network and get the opinions of Deutsche Bank, Bears Sterns, Goldman Sachs and Stifel Nicholaus.

Then I’d encourage you to attend ChannelAdvisor’s  Catalyst conference in Pinehurst, April 1-3. It’s only $349 and that includes the conference itself as well as golf, transpo to and from the airport, drinks and meals, parties, etc..  And unlike other company sponsored events….ChannelAdvisor doesn’t pitch its own products…no really! I wouldn’t lie to you.

If you email me and let me know you are coming, I’ll even take you out for an additional round of golf!

Ebay Boycott

20 Feb

Today is the third day of a seller’s boycott against Ebay’s recent decision to eliminate sellers the ability to give buyer feedback ratings.

Ebay listings seem to be down 3%  but an Ebay spokesman says that the boycott isn’t having an impact.

My question to you is, ‘ Did you know there was a boycott?’ ‘Do you care?’

Fox Interactive to Buy Pricegrabber?

20 Feb

According to a source, Fox Interactive Media is in preliminary discussions to purchase Price Grabber from Experian.  Fox Interactive, which owns a number of web properties including MySpace, has been mentioned in a number of buy out speculations over the past 6 months.

Bloomberg released and article that seems to suggest that there is other in interest in PriceGrabber as well.

From the article: “I see no reason why they would get less than what they paid” for PriceGrabber, Christian Koefoed-Nielsen, an analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co. in London, said by telephone today. The unit “is more profitable than when they bought it.”

Ciao Goes Live in the US

20 Feb

Ok so I am a little late with the announcement, but after talking to these guys at Etail West last week, I can say they really seem to get it.

 Ciao is one of the bigger comparison shopping engines in Europe with a with presence in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Why do I think these guys get it? Markus Rottmaier, Head of Sales International says, “Our main focus is on the user. We provide them with all the information they need before clicking through to a merchant’s product page.  The target audience is someone who’s in the middle of the buying process.  Typically, we’ve found that customer-written recommendations are the most useful in accelerating the decision process — and deliver increased conversion rates for merchants.” 

Instead of paying lipservice to the web 2.0 mantra, Ciao encourages user-to-user interaction by stepping up  and paying its most valuable contributors.

According to CSE Strategies “The strategy has worked in Europe, where Ciao’s conversion rates tend to be higher than its competition. Plus, it’s one strategy also recently employed by Become and Pronto, both of which have seen massive traffic increases (1000%+) since releasing social features in the same spirit.

“We see ourselves more as a shopping community than a pure price comparison site.”

Unlike the typical CSE model of click arbritrage, Ciao is relying on its user generated content to ensure high organic rankings.

Merchants who want to try Ciao can  sign up now and get three months worth of traffic free. After the 3 months,  it’s a CPC model with no bidding and the lowest price for that product showing up first.

Top 50 US Website, Most Gain Month over Month

19 Feb

Yahoo Sites once again as the #1 web property, beating Google Sites and MSN (2nd and third respectively). In what might be excellent leverage to get Microsoft to raise it’s bid, Yahoo sites were visited my 138 millions users, according to Com Score.



With tax season once again upon the USA,  the site predictably saw a huge increase (181% from prior month) with 12.5 million visitors. TaxAct (5.8 million, a 1,000% increase) and H&R Block (5.3 million, 312%) also saw huge upswings in traffic.

 As the presidential primaries heat up and with New Year resolutions, political sites and career sites grew month over month.


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