Monday, August 15, 2005

Multilingual Search moves and seeks new contributors

Multilingual Search has moved house - to

Explains managing editor, Andy Atkins-Krüger, "We've received a great deal of encouragement from readers who say we're providing a useful service. Now we've made Multilingual Search easier to use for marketers who are researching particular projects. It's now possible to view only posts from the country in which you're interested."

And we're looking for new contributors to extend our reach right around the globe!

Do give us your feedback and comments - they're much appreciated.

Yahoo! Invests $1 Billion in China's Alibaba

Seems the battleground between the major search engines has shifted to China. Following Google's interest in Baidu - that recently went public and whose stock is performing well - Yahoo has announced a billion dollar investment in Alibaba - a Chinese ecommerce site.

The billion dollar's gets Yahoo! a 40% stake in the company.

A recent MarketWatch article gives a good overview of the recent increase in activity of search engine and tech stock in the Asian continent.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

MSN Spain unveils a simplified makeover

Clearly the big news this week is PPC, all across the board (Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and MSN). The new products that will inevitably keep everyone busy adjusting and transforming their campaigns. But life goes on, and other news, although small and overshadowed, ought to be brought into the light, if only just for a moment.

Yesterday, MSN Spain dropped their old portal look, opting for a brand new, simplified appearance. The changes come from direct user feedback and navigation preferences, following a similar transformation in the U.K. and the U.S. earlier. It looks a bit like a global domino effect for MSN’s International portals. For example, France, Germany already have the new and improved versions, while other European countries, such as, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland and Netherlands and a number of others are still untouched.

The launch of the new appearance falls under the international Clarity in Ads project which is dedicated to promoting non-intrusive and more innovative advertising techniques to satisfy the user. With this lighter look, not only does the page load faster, but MSN Spain (like in its other global portals) makes it much easier to access their communication services/products such as Hotmail, MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces. In the new portal, users can also personalize their experience using My MSN, where they can select how and what content to see on the portal. According to Nielsen NetRatings MSN Espana already enjoys 9.5 million monthly users.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

AOL targeting Latino Market

Seems AOL is joining the popular push to attract more Latin traffic. They have announced a new TV and radio campaign whose goal is to draw more Latinos to AOL.

The Spanish speaking market seems to very popular right now.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The “Golden” Pages—Yellow Pages, Czech Republic and Growth

Yellow Pages—so familiar, so practical and SO trendy. Have you noticed? Yellow Pages have been in the spotlight now that local search is picking up speed. So much in fact that all the buzz has resulted in a very complete third edition of the Kelsey Group study on Yellow Pages, “Global Yellow Pages(TM) 2005: The Kelsey Group's Outlook & Forecast" (paid report) all over the globe. And why not, with pay per call starting to pick up speed and looking like the next big time attraction, Yellow Pages are bound to jump in for the ride, tapping into that “familiar” and “practical.” Although according to John Kelsey, the industry, as a whole, has a lot of obstacles and hurdles.

“‘The Yellow Pages claims they were the originator of local search. The steps that Google, Yahoo! and other online players are taking into local search might have in some way inspired traditional Yellow Pages publishers to become more innovate and adaptive. Also, at the end of the day, everybody will win because directional media, which includes online, local search, print and other flavors such as wireless, is important when the advertiser is closer to the transaction,’ says Neal Polacheck, senior VP, The Kelsey Group.”

For anyone who’s glimpsed into the Kelsey Group’s study, Yellow Pages are everywhere. Today, MSE will shed some light on someone you’re probably not expecting. The Czech Republic’s Yellow Pages publisher, Mediatel, has decided to launch a major online marketing campaign to promote their digital Yellow Pages. After all, their print edition has a significant audience, as 70% of the Czech population relies on the trusty pages.

Much like the yellow pages publishers in other countries, “‘We recognize the growing significance of the Internet [for the Czech business community] and we want to focus on it more," Řezníčková said. "We want to be more than a mere publisher of the biggest phone directory and companies' catalog in this country’” says Zuzana Řezníčková, Mediatel’s General Manager. In fact, the move to promote the online version of the popular resource is more than timely, now that the are already growing in popularity, with 25% growth in hits since the beginning of this year.

In fact, the popularity of online business directories and search for local information is picking up very fast in the Czech Republic, and the major portals are enjoying the boost, as more and more funds are shifted their way., the third biggest portal, hopes their revenues will grow by 60% thanks to investments in online business listings.

According to Oldřich Bajer, of (the most popular Czech portal), there is an increasing interest in priority listings. Sound familiar? Clearly, the Czech Republic will be moving in the direction that other countries are already quite familiar with. “This year, local Web portals expect to receive some 750 million Kč ($29.6 million) from online advertisers. Half should come from revenues generated through priority listings in business databases.” Not too shabby.

So what’s next? And where do the local Yellow Pages come into the picture. Without a doubt, considering their popularity, they won’t be left behind. Much like in other countries, Mediatel, “has considered possible cooperation with other Web portals to expand its Internet activities.”

So keep your eye on the Yellow Pages—their “golden” in the Czech Republic (golden=zlatý).


iMedia Connection
Yahoo Finance
Prague Post
Kelsey Group Blog

Friday, July 29, 2005

Slovak broadband connections mushroom

How does a 527-percent growth sound? Surreal. But true. Last year Slovakia had 8,275 broadband internet connections and now, they’re looking at 51,869. With that number, coming to a 1% penetration of the entire population, they are clearly far behind their European neighbors, but definitely plenty to get excited about. The EU25 average is 8.6% and the EU15 is 10%.



Alibaba, “Connecting China and the World”

Former President Clinton will be back for an internet related visit to China. But that’s probably not the biggest news. What’s more interesting is the event he will be speaking at. On September 10th, Alibaba, China’s largest and by far the most successful Chinese e-commerce company is hosting China’s Internet Summit with a global signature. "Connecting China and the World," will bring together a number of renowned players from the global playground for a dialogue intended as a sort of brainstorming session to address imminent issues in the Chinese internet market (ie. future of online gaming, ecommerce, and globalization issues). According to Alibaba the summit is non-partisan and it certainly seems that way, considering Alibaba has invited Meg Whitman, CEO of Ebay, also known as Alibaba’s primary competitor.



Internet Behavior from virtually every angle—Findings from Chile

Interesting news to take note of out of Chile: Looks like the penetration of internet usage in the country is somewhat stuck at 36%, only one point up from data collected in 2003. But it’s nothing to get sunken up about; Chile is in fact leading the Latin American pack and runs in step with Italy and Spain. But there’s more. According to WIP, World Internet Project, even the most advanced countries are reaching saturation limits at 77%.

But perhaps the most interesting findings lie in the WHY people connect in the first place, varying from country to country, or region to region. Such a strong behavioral differentiation is a crucial statistic to underline and make use of. “Internet usage in Chile and the world: First results of the World Internet Project-Chile”, a 17 page study, segments internet usage into a number of categories, ie. income, location, sex, expertise, external environmental factors, awareness, skills, and much more, drawing more than a few thought provoking conclusions.

“Internet use is influencing more and more aspects of people’s lives. Yet we do not know very well to what extent. First, because common speech often confuses vague or even contradictory terms such as ‘information society’…‘globalization’ and ‘new digital media’. The second cause is that Internet use is not a phenomenon that expands automatically and homogenously like a chemical reaction.”

No doubt about it, there’s nothing homogenous about it; which is why online marketers are looking at the global market through a segmented lens. For example, the study shows the difference between patterns of internet use in a developed country such as the U.S. and Chile, who is clearly behind in terms of digital development. The U.S. user will spend more time using the internet for practical reasons (online banking, travel reservations, purchases, etc.) whereas their Chilean counterparts are more inclined to rely on the internet for less pragmatic and more socially driven reasons.

Much like the comparison between Chile and the U.S., the study also concludes that internet use in Mediterranean counties is driven more by social factors than anything else, where as the online community in Nordic countries relies on the internet more for functional, pragmatic purposes. The following is a break down of users who buy online. Interestingly enough, Chile, although behind the always prominent, leads Italy and far bypasses Spain.

On that same e-commerce note, but from a different source, TradeDoubler concluded that the European online community shops all day long, but when the sun goes down, business goes on. Of course, even that varies from country to country. The Danish shop from 5-6pm; the British shopping peak hours are around 8pm, Swedes follow around 9pm, and Germans and Italians prefer to fill their online carts between 2-4pm. Spanish online shoppers pull out their wallets more between 12 and 1pm, while the French take it easy and spread their shopping activities from 6-10pm.

Although TradeDoubler assures us that most European’s shop in the evenings, there’s plenty of shopping going on during work hours. Take note. And if you’re up for more interesting details, download the latest World Internet Project study, it’s worth a good look over.



Technoroti broadens their horizons

According to the Technorati blog, you’re all welcome to search for blogs in a total of ten languages (Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish). This new search addition is still in beta (ie. there are still some mixed language results coming up) and works only in keyword searches. But it looks like Technorati is in the right place at the right time, as blogging continues to grow globally.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Interview with Chrysi Philalithes, European Marketing Director, MIVA (Espotting) and Christer Pettersson, Online Manager – Search, Eniro.

Congratulations on the deal between MIVA and Eniro.

Thank you both for taking time out to talk to Multilingual Search and answer a few questions about the deal with MIVA and Eniro.

RASMUS: A lot has happened with Espotting in Scandinavia since launching your service a couple of years ago. Could you maybe tell us a bit on the history behind Espotting and entering the Scandinavian market?

CHRYSI: Sure. Espotting were the first Pay-Per-Click player to enter the Scandinavian market. We launched in Sweden at the end of 2002 and in Norway and Denmark in 2003. Our expertise in the market is second to none - we have been offering Pay-Per-Click solutions to both advertisers and partners for longer than any other player. Our customer base has continued to grow since we launched.

RASMUS: The deal between Eniro and MIVA covers MIVA's Private Label Partner programme which launched recently. Could you tell us a bit about that? How does it work? What does it take to be a Private Label Partner? What are the key benefits for the partner?

CHRYSI: As we all know, Pay-Per-Click has been the shining star of online advertising. Our Private Label Partner programme provides large companies the chance to offer a Pay-Per-Click Advertising solution under their own brand name. For example, through this announcement, Eniro will be offering Eniro Pay-Per-Click Ads to advertisers and partners. The benefits for our Private Label partners are:

• A speed-to-market solution - they can begin offering their own Pay-Per-Click Ads to clients in less time than they would if they were to develop a Pay-Per-Click solution on their own. What this translates to is the ability to earn revenue quickly and effectively.

• MIVA is the largest independent Performance Marketing Network in the world. What do we mean by that? That we do not have a destination site and so we do not compete with our partners for users to their website.

• We pioneered Private Label and have a wealth of experience in understanding partners' needs. Other private label partners include Lycos and Verzion in the U.S and Mitsui in Japan.

RASMUS: Contextual advertising is a hot subject in the online advertising sector these days and more and more companies are launching contextual programmes where ads will be matched to the actual content on the pages where the ads are shown. How will MIVA's listings be served by Enrio? Will it only be in relation to actual search queries or will we see listings on some of Eniro's content properties (Guides) too?

CHRYSI: Espotting (now MIVA) were the first company to develop a Content Product back in 2001 and many of our partner websites in Scandinavia, which will soon come under the Eniro brand, have content as well as search implementations. It's quite interesting to note that we use the word Content and not contextual. Why? Simply put, we believe that the contextual products currently available on the market are not as targeted as our content product which uses a human editorial process to select the keywords that trigger the Pay-Per-Click Ads, as well as automated tools.

RASMUS: How will the advertisers sign up? Through Eniro's properties or through MIVA?

CHRYSI: For the Scandinavian market, in the short-term advertisers will sign up through Espotting and soon through Eniro. For the rest of Europe and the US, advertisers can sign up through MIVA.

CHRISTER: We have been using DART for our advertisers up until today, but we expect to launch direct sign up with Espotting from Eniro this summer.

RASMUS: The press release mentions MIVA's assets in Scandinavia and that the deal falls under the Espotting brand. Does this mean that the Espotting Brand still exists? And what in particular is MIVA's assets in Scandinavia these days?

CHRYSI: When we rebranded our company in June to MIVA, we did not rebrand our Scandi operations – they continued to use the Espotting brand. Now, with the partnership with Eniro, the goal is to use the Eniro brand in Scandi, which is much stronger than the Espotting brand. So the Espotting brand will, in the near future, cease to exist as the front-facing client interfaced brand. To provide more detail on exactly what ‘assets’ were transferred to Eniro, we mean that our contracts with our clients (advertisers and partners) and our team members (our employees!) based in Scandinavia, have been purchased by Eniro. In summary, MIVA, Espotting Scandi's parent company, will, we believe, have a stronger presence in the Scandinavian market through our Private Label deal with Eniro than we would have had by remaining a stand-alone company under either the MIVA or Espotting brand. We think the partnership between us and Eniro (the combination of the Espotting Scandi assets, Eniro’s brand and resources, and MIVA’s ongoing expertise at Pay-Per-Click and providing Private Label solutions) will create a leading (if not the leading) Pay-Per-Click offering in Scandi.

RASMUS: The fact that Eniro bought the Scandinavian assets does that mean that we won't see other Private Label deals in Scandinavia?

CHRYSI: No, it doesn't mean that you won't see other Private Label deals from MIVA.

RASMUS: How much will the deal with Eniro mean in terms of building the reach for Espotting/Eniro advertisers and partners?

CHRYSI: Eniro is, as all your readers know, the leading directory in the Nordics. Advertisers will benefit as their Pay-Per-Click Ads will be displayed across Eniro's web properties. The traffic volumes from across its web properties have continuously increased. In April 2005, the number of unique users to alone increased by 51% to an all-time high of 4.3m (versus April 2004).

RASMUS: Google's publishers program - Adsense - has seen a huge increase in popularity among many webmasters since it launched and Eniro has been running the Adsense/Adwords programme up untill now. Do you have an oppinion on why MIVA's product was more compelling to Eniro?

CHRISTER: We have been trough mergers and accustions before as have bought other companies before. This aproach had made us a major online directory / yellow page company.

We wanted a program that offeres private label agreements and we looked at the market place and experienced that neither Overture nor Google Adsense offers this solution to their partners today. Furthermore we wanted a running company – a company that was already in business and had experienced employees. Espotting fitted this perfectly and it was the obvious solution to us.

The services now offered through Eniro will run on the same existing technology as MIVA is using today. This was also one of the major issues for us. We wanted to be able to get off the ground quickly and offer our advertisers new marketing solutions.

Finallly Espotting have been researching and analysing new ways of marketing companies online that didn’t have an online pressence (website). Espotting had been working on the Pay Per Call model which was something we also had been pondering about. This and their excisting business model made it a clear to us that Espotting was the right solution for us.

RASMUS: Interesting. Now the next obvious question is; what about Eniro’s excisting arrangement with Google? Today the search properties of Eniro are all using the Google search technology with Adsense on top. How will this turn out in the future?

CHRISTER: Well, so far we have been very pleased with Google – both on the advertising and search platforms. Right now we don’t have any plans of changing the search part away from Google, but of course we will be unsing Espotting as the “sponsored listings” provider. On our content properties and guides we will proberbly be using Google Adsense, but we’re pragmatic and things change all the time, so what the situation will look like in the future, I can’t promise you.

RASMUS: Excellent! Thank you very much both Chrysi and Christer. It has been very interesting talking to you both and I hope the deal between Eniro and MIVA will benefit at lot of webmasters, user and advertisers in Scandianvia.

Press release from MIVA/Espotting on the deal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Interview with Miguel Acosta, Ask Jeeve's Director of European Business Development: Opening alternative doors in Spain and Europe

There has been plenty of talk about Ask Jeeves’ plans and progress in the U.S., but Ask Jeeves is also keeping plenty of heads turning in the European market. Spain is a recent endeavor with plenty of action to this day to keep the interested on the ball. Recently, MSE covered Ask Jeeves’ strategic agreements with reputable Spanish companies, as well as their upcoming marketing push for the Spanish market in September. Following the search engine’s evolution, as well as the recent IAC acquisition, the famous butler is certainly dressed to impress and shaped up for his imminent adventures. MSE thought it was about time to hear about the past, present and future directly from the source. With a kindly granted interview with Miguel Acosta, Director of European Business Development for Ask Jeeves, MSE zooms in on the details, so to speak and brings you a bit more insight, tracing Ask Jeeves’s footsteps, chiefly through Spain and but also onto the broader, European landscape. Read on and craft your conclusions (there is plenty to think about):

MSE: In your opinion, which search engines will pose direct competition to Ask Jeeves in the beginning? And if you think that will change with time, which will be the competition further down the line?

Miguel Acosta: Globally, today there are four Search engines with their own technology: Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves. Currently, these are our competitors. Although that new search engines might appear within certain niches, we believe that mid-term, the competition will continue to be the same players.

MSE: If you (Ask Jeeves España) plan on competing with Google who enjoys over 90% searches in Spain, what strategy does Ask Jeeves plan to adopt in order to be able to compete with the Spanish market leader? Will we be seeing something new and different?

MA: In AJ we have our own, different technology against the backdrop of our competition. Consequently, on many occasions our search results are going to vary from the other search engines (and equally relevant), which will increase the wide range of search possibilities for the users.

Additionally, we are starting of with three functionalities unlike the competition’s that we think are relevant to the user:

-myAskJeeves (to save search results),
-related searches (to help users sharpen their searches—found on the right, in the results page)
-binoculars (help zoom in on screenshots on the results page, without having to abandon the search results).

MSE: If on the contrary, Ask Jeeves does not plan on competing with Google, but rather on complementing Google and laying out an alternative for information search, as you stated in your interview with Libertad Digital, how does Ask Jeeves plan to achieve this?

MA: When we talk about competing with Google, what we are referring to is the idea of having the user search in more than one search engine. If we take a closer look at the English speaking market (U.S. and U.K.), we find that these users use between three and four different search engines every month. We think that the Spanish internet user will have the same tendency and here is where we see our competitive advantage.

MSE: Your agreement with TPI to add their Yellow Pages to the search engine gives reason to think that you will be putting an important emphasis on local search also in Spain. Are there more plans that point in that direction? Perhaps with time we’ll see something similar to Ask Jeeves Local Search?

MA: The challenge of all search engines is to try to be focused on the user demand. In this context, there are many innovations in Ask Jeeves in the United States and we should “import” to Spain those functionalities that we think are most relevant. In this context, it’s feasible that we will develop our local channel if we see interest on the users’ side.

MSE: What do you think about the agreement that TPI signed with MSN, days before they signed another one with Ask Jeeves? And in relation to Ask Jeeves, what do you think about TPI’s plans to launch a new search engine, Noxtrum? Where does the agreement to use their Yellow Pages fit in, if TPI will soon be another member of the competition?

MA: Our agreement with TPI is based on the idea of offering additional content to users (in this case, Yellow Pages searches). This should be our focus, regardless of TPI’s plans. In addition, if we keep in mind that we think the user’s [Spanish] behavior will migrate to using several different search engines per month, we could situate ourselves on a stage where Noxtrum will compliment our own search engine.

MSE: Will we see more strategic agreements between Ask Jeeves Spain and other companies, such as the ones you have now with Vocento, Softonic, TPI and El Corte Ingles?

MA: Starting now we will see distribution agreements through which other web sites will use our search engine.

MSE: In the U.S., Ask Jeeves offers a complete and impressive set of search tools (Smart Search), are there intentions for the same in Spain?

MA: Yes, but always keeping in mind the relevance of these to the Spanish user.

MSE: In relation to other search engines, why is Ask Jeeves so late entering into Europe?

MA: Ask Jeeves has been in the UK for 5 years. The decision to enter the continental Europe is based on the confidence we now have in our technology (we have spent months adapting it to the diverse markets).

MSE: What plans do you have for the rest of Europe? Any country that will surprise us?

MA: I don’t think there are surprises…we will go to the expected markets: Germany, France, Holland and Italia (in alphabetical order).

MSE: After buying Excite Italia from Tiscali, what are Ask Jeeves’ plans for Excite and how will those integrate into Ask Jeeves upcoming European expansion?

MA: Our focus, as a company, is search. All of our actions will be aimed in that direction.

MSE: There’s a lot of talk about Barry Dillers’ comments on not renewing the AdWords contract between Ask Jeeves and Google in 2007 and moving towards Ask Jeeves’ own PPC system. En other interviews you said that Ask Jeeves Spain will use Adwords. Will this decision now change?

MA: At the present time, we will use Google’s sponsored results.

MSE: What impact is the IAC acquisition having on Ask Jeeves?

MA: The IAC acquisition was confirmed on July 19th, for that reason it’s still too early to analyze the impact; although we are very excited about the new project.

MSE: And now, what everyone is dying to know, but is afraid to ask:
How is the butler’s diet? Looks like he’s lost some weight. Is he getting in shape for his upcoming adventures in Europe?

MA: The butler’s diet has been a success! Not only that, but now we have him parachuting and diving (television ad campaign in the U.K.)…Decidedly, the butler has rejuvenated.

There’s no doubt about it, it’s time to be on the lookout for Ask Jeeves’ European endeavors. But you certainly won’t need your binoculars (not in this case, anyway); Ask Jeeves, along with its butler are intent on making a colorful entrance you’re unlikely to miss.