Should Google and Search Engine Optimization be Regulated?

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I guess Google was getting so big, so uncontrollable lately, it was only a matter of time before we began hearing words of descent. On July 13th, an unknown poster whose been holding back their frustrations about Google, and SEO in general, spoke out about it.

I stumbled upon an article that was posted on TechCrunch.com about how Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become so unregulated it’s now comparable to “free trade”; with the one controlling all exports and imports being the search engine itself (i.e. Google, Yahoo). The article, which is written by an author who wishes to remain anonymous (for fear of fallout with Google and the SEO industry), makes points about how Google has too much control over search engine results, and the rankings of websites for certain companies and points of interest. This power and control, the author believes, should be regulated by the government and that it’s about time it happens.

“Through an uncontrolled set of factors search engines determine which listings appear at the top and bottom of any individual query,” says the author. “If you happen to own an online business, unless you exist within those top three (search results), the amount of individual traffic you will obtain from organic listings is very, very low.”

He also goes on to explain that these search engines should be required to publicly disclose the rule-based algorithms that determine result sets. This sounds a little like releasing the source code of a program, which would result in Google changing from a unique search engine brand to a common one. His points are interesting and thought provoking, but is government control really the answer?

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A blog post has been made in retaliation to the article on Econsultancy.com by Chris Lake, where he declares that Google and SEO should NOT be regulated. He goes on to list 10 points about how this anonymous author is wrong and comes up with some good arguments.

Let’s say the government does decide to get involved with this, especially if this becomes a hot topic. What happens to the digital agency and digital marketing as we know it? It seems like there would be a lot less calls from people who would love to use SEO for their company, especially if search results were completely randomized. I would especially hate to see sites that contain spam and other junk at the top of Google search listings just because they contain a few words from a search query.

I urge you all to read both of these articles and leave a comment on where you stand on this issue.

The Time Has Come To Regulate Search Engine Marketing And SEO

10 reasons why Google and SEO should NOT be regulated

Go Green Without Breaking the Bank

The 2010 Honda Insight will be a catalyst that has the potential to make owning a hybrid an affordable option for Main Street, with price tags below $20,000. The past two years at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is exemplary of  the green trend, all of the auto companies presented new models on a green platform, only Honda has been able to make it affordable, for now at least.

There are three elements consistent in hybrid engine design that contributes to better fuel economy.

1) Having both an electric engine and gasoline engine that shuts down during peak power usage.

2)A battery capable of storing large amounts of energy

3) The ability to recapture energy during braking

These are the staples for hybrid design that the automobile industry is working towards as a whole to make the most efficient and affordable. But what about those potential hybrid consumers on a budget? More importantly, what about those consumers that are about to get pink slipped? What options do they have to drive a fuel efficient vehicle while not falling into debt?

There are a variety of options to change transportation behavior: buy a hybrid, carpool, ride a bike, ride a bus, teleconference, all of which require a change in behavior. Aftermarket computer chips are an option that does not require any change whatsoever. A variety of companies offer performance grade computer chips that are installed on the electronic control unit(ECU) of an engine and will optimize an engine’s performance to create higher horsepower and torque and can be utilized for higher fuel efficieny, up to 5 mpg. Once installed, the programmer’s smart system immediately recognizes vital information of the vehicle’s engine, powertrain and transmission, and can be adjusted without having a deep understanding of computer programming. Hypertech offers a Max Energy E-con Programmer, specifically designed to imporve fuel economy, it retails at $329.99 and is available on 22 different car models.

The question is: why are you only able to find these on automobile supply websites, trade publications, and AutoZone? Why aren’t these things at Meijers’, Sears and Target? Buying a performance chip is less expensive with a little les R-O-MPG in the long-term. So when are after-marker computer chips going to break out of the gearhead market and into the green market?

The decline in auto sales over the past few years creates even more opportunity for such a product to thrive in the market. Aftermarket companies such as Hypertech could reach those consumers who want to go green but can’t afford a $26,000 or even a $20,000 hybrid. Sure, ponying up for the Hybrid is the most eco-friendly and will give you more eco-bragging ammo, but let’s face it, people are strapped for cash and not in the new car market, sales volumes over the past few years have shown that. Spending $3,000-$4,000 more for a hybrid, that gets 10-12 more mpg, whereas an E-con Programmer is 1/10 the price increase opposed to buying a hybrid and saves 1/2 as much in fuel economy. Cheaper short-term, comprable long-term.

However, there are some barriers to entry dependant on the success of aftermarket chips. Installing a computer chip is in violation of most car’s warranties that disqualifies an eligibility for engine repair. This is a contractual agreement with the auto companies that aftermarket companies will struggle to overcome, given that the auto companies have tenfold the bargaining power.

So, maybe that is why aftermarket chips are not part of the mass market, there could be other reasons. They could just be slouches for marketers. Regardless, there is an opportunity for a company to introduce a product into the market that is aligned with current trends and nothing is being done about it. Tsk Tsk.

Yahoo CEO Steps Down

In recent new, Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo,has just announced that he is stepping down. Yang said he would continue his duties until the board announced his successor. He also agreed to assist in the process for finding his replaceent. Finally, Yang said he would continue to work for Yahoo and return to his previous job as “chief Yahoo,” a corporate strategy role in addition to remaining on the board. Yang was in control of Yahoo for about a year and a half.

The decision is said to have been mutual between Yang and the board. Although the board was grateful to Jerry’s contributions over the past year and half, they are looking for someone to take the company to the next level.

Ross Sandler, analyst at RBS Capital Markets, saw this change as a positive decision from what he calls a “shareholders perspective.” He said Yang did little to restore confidence in any of Yahoo’s shareholders, employees or customers after botching the Microsoft deal. In February, Yang refused to accept Microsoft‘s bid of $31 a share. He attempted to show some willingness to sell the company but at a much higher price Microsoft was not willing to pay. Due to this, Microsoft rescinded its offer in May.

Yang attempted to develop a plan to help Yahoo compete against Google. He made several cuts in the staff and planned to lay off at least 10% of its 15,000 employees. During the time that this was stated, Yahoo’s net income fell 64% and lowered its revenue projections for the year. Yang made an advertising deal with its rival Google. The deal was supposed to bring Yahoo $250-$450 million in additional cash flow for the first year. Under pressure from regulators over antitrust concersn Google backed out of the deal. Since this deal fell through, many analysts have stated that yahoo might be forced to consider a deal with Microsoft or a merger with AOL. Who know’s what is in store for Yahoo in the near future.

Althouh Jerry Yang seemed very dedicated to the Yahoo corporation, his ability to take Yahoo to the next level did not go as expected. Although he dissapointed the board, he is at least sticking to his company and continuing to support it despite his job situation. As Yang most recently stated, “i have always, and will always bleed purple(in reference to Yahoo’s corporate color).”

New Ad Format: Facebook’s Attempt to Appeal to Marketers

The popular social networking site Facebook Inc. is trying out new tactics to churn out steady revenue from its advertisers.  New ads called “engagement ads” appear on the main screen when a person first logs into Facebook. Then the user is prompted to do something with the ad i.e. commenting on a movie trailer or RSVP for the finale of a TV show, etc. If the person goes through with the action, Facebook then sends a notice about what the person has done with the ad to their friends.

Facebook has been testing this new ad format since August and just this month has started making it available to advertisers. According to Facebook, 70 of the U.S.’s 100 largest advertisers have advertised on its site since 2007. Despite Facbook’s attempted efforts, competitor MySpace.com is still the market leader with 15.9% of display-ad spending.

 

It has been said that buying ads on Facebook and MySpace usually cost less than buying ads on sites such as Yahoo or AOL.  Facebook has hired top ad sales executives from top companies and has also sent teams into agencies to pitch products and generate awareness about its research tools.

The only problem Facebook may have is people getting frustrated with a ton of new ads popping up. Something that used to make Facebook unique from MySpace was that it was not flooded with a bunch of different ads.  Within the next few months, we will see how users react to the new and more prevalent ad usage on Facebook. Since most of Facebook’s targeted users are college students and young adults it could be seen as a downside; however, for marketers it could be seen as a great aspect.

Environmental Tips on Improving Your Fuel Efficiency

I’m sure most of you have been fighting gas prices throughout the year. Despite the fact that most of us are trying to be more eco-friendly the constant increase in the price of oil has made it extremely tough. In recent weeks however, gas stations have surprised us all and have actually lowered their prices. We’ll see how long that actually lasts though. Hopefully it won’t be short-lived. In the mean time, here are some tips to help make your automobile more fuel efficient:

 

  • Slow down your acceleration time (accelerate 0 to 60 mph in about 15 seconds). The average improvement in fuel economy is about 31%
  • For all you speed racers out there, try driving the speed limit. You’ll save on average 12%.
  • Try using your cruise control more frequently, it can save you an average of 7%
  • If you end up being stuck in traffic or idle for more than one minute turn off your car, it will save you an average of 14%
  • Refuel your vehicle during the evening hours to cut down on the amount of pollution created
  • Try combining your daily errands and activities to the shortest route possible. The heaviest car emissions occur during the first two miles that your car is being driven since the engine is still warming up
  • Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure and get your car alignment checked about every 5,000 miles
  • Keep up on your car maintenance, especially ignition timing, spark plugs and wiring, and idle speed settings
  • Purchas long-lasting, fuel-efficient radial tires
  • Avoid quick starts and stops
  • Use anti-freeze that doesn’t contain ethylene glycol
  • Avoid idling your car for more than 30 seconds
  • Keep the air and fuel filters clean

 

In addition to these check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Vehicle Guide. All you have to do is fill in your car make, model, year and state and it will show you your cars fuel efficiency, air pollution score, greenhouse gas score and more. You can also look up and compare what the “greenest” vehicles are.

 

 

Driving is an essential part of most of our daily lives. Although it is hard to cut back on our daily activities, we must come to realize that when there is an opportunity for us to take public transportation or ride a bike we should use it. Although we rely on cars to fulfill a majority of our needs, we also rely on the environment to survive. Without the environment, we are non-existent thus making cars un-important.

Marketing an Eco-friendly Expansion: Googling for Results

Recently, we were asked to do an experiment involving coining a term and monitoring its search results on Google. The goal is to eventually get the term to show high results on the Google search engine. We were asked to take a snapshot of the before search on our term, in addition to blogging about it and linking it. The rest of the Eco-friendly internship team as well as Derek, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, all came up with Google phrases as well. Katie Hyzy chose “Eco-savvy Marketing Ann Arbor,” Nick Meador chose “Online Publishing Marketing,” Pedro Martin-Panadero chose “Experimental Marketing Michigan,” Jennifer Harrison chose “Digital Eco Fusion,” and Derek chose “Digital Marketing Education.” I am curious as to what the results of this experiment will be and how long it will take to show high results. Here is a snapshot of my before page:

The term I chose was Marketing an Eco-friendly Expansion. This term was meant to convey the meaning that people need to not only be eco-friendly in their own surrounding area, but should be encouraged to instill and expand an eco-friendly way of living to people all over the nation.  I have lived in various areas for a significant period of time and have witnessed firsthand how people are the key ingredient when it comes to preserving the environment.  One of our jobs for the Eco-friendly Internship is to not only utilize digital marketing but work toward a sustainable future.