Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Facebooks Oculus - Social Interface of the Future

Facebook closed on a $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality interface controller Oculus.  The company has mastered the creation of goggles that provide a dual-screen, full-eye exposure interface display that immerses you into a digital first person environment.  That's a mouthful to appreciate and in my impression, it was a mouthful to keep down as I nearly got sick in using them myself.  The visual response controls are very good; perhaps too good.

Recently I tried Oculus at the local Dave & Busters and played an offroad'n driving experience.  It was a pretty realistic game and visual experience.  I nearly got sick using them which was probably more due to the offroad'n style game that moved me display in unexpect ways that left me twirled.  So perhaps that game wasn't my cup of tea, but the idea is clear, as your head physically moves in orientation, the stereoscopic goggles adjust your visual perspective to provide a first-person 3D virtual reality that is quite a uniquely real experience.

What will Facebook do with such a device.  Unfortunately very little.  They are buying cool talent, not the gaming hardware.  If these VR interfaces did reach the masses, we could see several uses like a SecondLife in a real-time VR experience with your social network.  However if Google Glass is any comparison though, users will be slow to adjust.  People just don't expect a computer screen to constantly be in front of their eyes.  It's just a bit too immersive and I doubt that anyone could wear them for much longer than 5 minutes at a time without being disorientated and needing several minutes to compensate (almost like decompression after scuba diving!).

The user interface of the future isn't here yet; but when it comes, I honestly think Microsoft is well positioned with Kinect which comes loaded with the ability to detect a persons gestures from across the living room to control a television... now there you've got it.  Unfortunately any even if Microsoft has a leg up, they will fail to take it to the next level and it will be another 10 years until someone else does it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Website Publishers Not Responsible for Unlawful Advertisers

For the past years, online advertising products have been used by somewhat questionable businesses. Like many local businesses, adult related services such as female companions and tobacco shops have taken advantage of the internet to gain new customers, but ad network giants Google, Yahoo and MSN have blocked some types of ads in discretion of their general user audience as well as legal compliance. The Google Adwords policy in the US was recently changed to no longer accept ads related to adult, tobacco and alcohol. While Adwords may be off limits, LocalSplash continues to support these types of businesses to leverage Google Maps and allow internet users to find female escorts services for example.

It has been questioned if ad agencies and web publishers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their advertisers are legitimate and acting within the law. Online classified website Craigslist was accused by a sheriff in Chicago to be soliciting prostitution by allowing for females to post ads for sexual services on their network. The judge ruling in the matter dismissed the case and states in his 20 page legal discourse that:
Intermediaries are not culpable for 'aiding and abetting' their customers who misuse their services to commit unlawful acts.
This is a major win for online ad publishers. It establishes precedence that web publishers aren't liable for potential wrongdoings of their clients products or services.

It's not surprising, Newspapers, after all, have always retained a degree of isolation. It would seem bizarre to hold the LA Times responsible for an advertisement of an illegal product or service. Can you imagine blaming the newspaper when a private party advertises and sell stolen goods, or an unlicensed practitioner performing their services, or for that matter any false advertisement? Unless the publishing company is somehow further involved in selling or delivering the service, or violates a trademark, the act of displaying the ad does not make them responsible for potential illegal activity that subsequently occurs. The same rationale should be applied to the online world.

Related to this legal precedence is the 1st Amendment, freedom of speech, which allows most publications to state or show any content they desire. Publishers generally apply editorial policies that are in line with what their audience find acceptable. At my company, RelevantAds, we take significant efforts to ensure the validity and accuracy of the businesses we advertise for; but it would be nearly impossible for us to perform diligence on our clients are ensure that they are procuring products or services in a legal manner.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Newspapers and Magazines are Assimilated by Google FastFlip

GoogleLabs introduces a novel way to preview many periodicals at once.

Fast Flip Periodicals and Newspapers

Google Fast Flip

Google Fast Flip rapidly crawls and updates articles from major print magazines and news publishers. The display is rendered through Googles servers as still graphic which allows nearly any safe browsing with nearly all browsers including mobile devices.

Loosing The User

The article is linked to the source website of the publisher, however most users will likely stay on the Google image view.

This is perhaps a double edge sword for print publishers. On the one hand, news publishers may experience some new sources of traffic from Google users that would not otherwise found the article. However, the fact that users can stay within the Google image view of the article means less eyeballs on newspaper and magazine ads.

While this labs incarnation is in its infancy, I wouldn't be surprised to find fast flip a mainstream portal on desktops and mobile devices alike.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Google Adwords Lets More Ads Display - No More Minimum Bids

Adwords does away with minimum bids.

In a run for more revenue Google does away with minimum bid levels. Advertisers previously had to bid a minimum amount per-click in order to even show up in search results. The minimum bid system did well in letting advertisers know the market going rate for advertising leads in their industry; however a major drawback was that it prevented advertisers from taking
advantage of smaller opportunities, such as a local campaign.

Minimum bid levels are driven by aggregate keyword auction, but when that auction takes places in a specific region, the competition can be very different. A minimum bid meant that the cost would be artificially increased to the average market values.

Keyword Expansion
Our local search marketing strategy has always included a broad expansion of keyword terms and permutations, sometimes taking advantage of up to 2,000 keywords per ad-group. This new change means that ads which were deemed below the minimum threshold will now surface. Our long-tail, expansive keyword work is now paying off by potentially providing more leads at the same or lower costs… incidentally it is also paying Google.

Economic Timing
It is perhaps more than a coincidence that the timing of this comes at a time when the economy and future earning revenues may be compromised. The elimination of minimum bid will more than likely bring in additional revenue.

Google KB – what happened to minimum bids
Google KB – what does the removal of inactive for search mean

User Outlook
One user benefit to minimum bids was to prevent spam-like ads from showing. We may see resurgence in arbitrage as advertisers take advantage of the bake sale on long-tail keywords.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Domain Name Length of Top 500 Websites

Is there an optimal domain name length?

The most popular websites have one thing in common; they're short! In analyzing the top sites identified by Alexa, we see that the average domain length is 6 characters.

RankWeb SiteLength











Chart 1.
The surge of 6 characters names isn't coincidental; "Google" alone accounts for 46 of these with country specified sites such as google.fr, google.com.mx and of course google.com. My associate, Mike Rosenthal, is quick to point out that the most important website is in fact a misspelling of Googol. Subtracting the internet giant from this analysis, we still find that 6 is the most common length.

Chart 2.
Here is a breakdown showing the percentage of sites that are less than or equal to the domain length.

Chart 3.

This shows that 90% of the top internet sites are under 10 characters in length. However the majority of domains are at least 11 characters in length according to Dennis Forbes finding.

PageRank Benefits Shorter Domain Names

Some search engine experts have long suspected that search algorithms may bias ranking of websites based upon the domain name length. While this study isn't looking at the full landscape of domain name, we can see the trend among the top 500. So is a small domain name have some algorithmic benefit in Page Rank? Or is magic number? It reasons that the smaller domains are typically older and more well established; factors that would contribute positively towards PageRank.

Chart 4.
According to this chart, the shorter domains tend to have Summary of interesting points about the top 500 websites-
  • Average Length: 6
  • Average PageRank: PR=6.5
  • Count of ".com"'s: 300
  • Number of domains that contain a dash: 12 with an average PR=5.6
Maximum domain name length: 63 characters, plus 4 for ".ext" (previous limit
was 26).
Average domain name length of all domains registered: 11
Average PageRank (presumed) of all domains registered: 1

David Rodecker
Founder &
RelevantAds “getting local
business online"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Metrics in Online Marketing

I presented this to CSULB Business School : Marketing 437 this past Wednesday.
The first portion of the presentation covers basic elements to online metrics, test and evaluation.
The second half focuses shows a value for search results by position and provides a means to calculate organic search result value.

Key points:

  • Online advertising should be measured, tracked and tested to achieve measured results,
  • Traditional search engine marketing charges CPC, gives the marketer the feeling of CPA, but actually charges CPI (inclusion) over time,
  • Organic placement value can be estimated given the CPC rates.

Measuring changes in a websites performance is fundamental to success. Changes in organic placement ranking is a new marketing methodology that can deliver substantial, and measurable value.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

AOL/Time Warner Takes Over Unclaimed Domains

Cable broadband users are saying goodbye to "Page cannot be found" and hello to ads. AOL's subsidiary ISP, Road Runner Time Warner has taken all the unused names on the internet captured all the non-claimed domains on the internet.

Normally when a users enters an invalid domain name they will receive a 4o4 page not found error, however by applying a method called wildcard DNS, users will instead be shown a landing page containing mostly ads.

Yahoo is powering the sponsored listings and the advertising arrangement should provide sizable revenue for the Time Warners ISP. Yahoo has several similar arrangements with domain aggregators which similarly allow advertising on unused domain URLs; this deal will considerably extend Yahoo's much needed advertising reach in the U.S.

You may remember that VeriSign did this in 2003, redirecting all bad .com and .net URLs. A move which affected nearly every internet user and enraged many online communities eventually pushing VeriSign to reverse the change. Since then the user acceptance of advertising-only websites has grown. Time Warner might skirt criticism because of its smaller footprint and cautious implementation. A key difference is that Time Warner allows a simple, non-intrusive way to opt-out of the wildcard DNS.

Although some customers are offended; it can be expected that other ISPs will eventually follow suit in the pursuit of top-end revenue. From my vantage point, this reinforces the value of the search engine, a place where the majority of users already start their daily internet routine.

David Rodecker is the President of RelevantAds, a search engine optimization company that delivers highly targeted search result placements and provides specific solutions in getting local businesses online.