Monday, August 15, 2005

Multilingual Search moves and seeks new contributors

Multilingual Search has moved house - to www.multilingual-search.com.

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 www.zlatestranky.cz 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. Atlas.cz, the third biggest portal, hopes their revenues will grow by 60% thanks to investments in online business listings.

According to Oldřich Bajer, of Seznam.cz (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).

Sources:

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%.

Source:

DMEurope

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.

Source:

Auctionbytes

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.

Sources:

WIP
E-Directivos

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 www.eniro.se 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.
MIVA
Eniro

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.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Google Buys Brazilian Tech Company

Google annouced it purchased Akwan Information Technologies, a Brazilian search company. Google plans on establishing a Research and Development division there and to use it as a base to spearhead their Latin American efforts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

IP tv

Telecom Italia and Tiscali announced the launch of IP tv starting at a T.B.D. date some time between September and November of this year.

Telecom Italia is now broadcasting Video On Demand via Rosso Alice 4 Mbit ADSL which they are planning to use for the newly announced IP tv service. The service will initially be available in 21 cities reaching an estimated 4 million families.

Source: Corriere della Sera

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Google China Hire Starts MSN Lawsuit

Seems a new hire at Google, formerly of Microsoft, has created a stir and has been served with a lawsuit by MSN.

ZDNet reports that Kai-Fu Lee is being sued by Microsoft for "the confidentiality and non-competition agreements he signed when he began working" and was now disregarding.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Canada May Outlaw Google

Interesting article about the impact of new laws in Canada. Search engines in Canada will have to be very aware of copyright laws, though the international nature of the web may make it hard to enforce.

The only possibility is that the engines create different submitting procedures for the .ca version of the business.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Yahoo and Antena3 in a convenient exchange

Today there is more news of strategic agreements in the Spanish market. This time Yahoo is in the picture. Yahoo Iberia will now be offering their popular email service, messenger and Kelkoo product search on the portal of one of Spain´s leading television channels, Antena3. In turn, Antena3 will become an additional well of information for Yahoo News in Spain.

According to Giorgio Sbampato, the director of New Business at Antena3, the company has established themselves as the most valued resource for televised information, 303 news alerts to mobiles, mobile channels and UMTS in Spain.

The Director of Yahoo Iberia and Kelkoo Spain, Javier Rodríguez Zapatero, added that the agreements is yet another step to reach out to a greater Spanish internet audience to offer their services and to built a partnership with a communications leader of Antena3’ standing.

Looks like its time to keep an eye on Spain. Plenty is happening already and certainly at this rate, more is on the way.

Source:

Yahoo! Noticias

Monday, July 11, 2005

Chinese search engine - Baidu - to float its shares

Baidu is reportedly about to float increasing the speculation about Google's position in China. Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine - and one which Google bought a 4% stake in during 2004.

It is known that Google CEO - Eric Schmidt - flew to China last week and there are rumours that Google will attempt to buy Baidu as Google's own site does not have the leading position the company's become accustomed to!

Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine


Google facing search engine China quandary - Yahoo! News

Yahoo makes first moves on Poland

Yahoo is heading towards a Polish launch - at least that's the conclusion of the Warsaw Business Journal which reports that Yahoo has launched Polish-language email accounts with 1 GB capacity.

Currently, the Yahoo domain for Poland - pl.yahoo.com redirects to Yahoo's UK site.

Yahoo currently operates native-language portals in Europe as shown by the map on their world.yahoo.com portal - but despite having a Russian language portal - Yahoo has little eastern European presence. In fact, they include the Russian language site as part of their presence in the US - targeting Russian speakers in north America.


Source - Warsaw Business Journal Online

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ukraine: Slowly churning out progress, but not without an effort

Eclipsed by other Eastern European countries who have already joined the EU, and with less than 10% of the population online in one way or another, you don’t hear about internet progress in Ukraine too often. But here is a little insight: there is progress indeed; baby steps or not, Ukraine is slowly churning out progress in the internet arena.

There are now nearly 152,765 local .ua domains registered; that’s an increase of 2.4% in the last month. What’s more, according to a Sputnikmedia.net study, based on the number of unique users who accessed the internet at least once during June, the Ukrainian internet audience grew by 116,111, reaching 6,449,517. Geographically speaking, Kiev, the nation’s capital, leads the way with 55.43% of all national internet usage.

For those interested in the top searches, they are slightly different than in other European countries. Tourism does not make it into the top 5 in Ukraine, but weather does. In fact, the list as is follows:

1. weather
2. jobs in Kiev
3. jobs
4. chat
5. sonic
6. horoscope

Now, onto the search engines. The leading Russian search engine, Yandex, was the gateway of 32.1% of all traffic onto Ukrainian websites. And out of the Ukrainian search engines, sure enough, Google led pack with 42.9%

But with all this notable progress, there is plenty of unpaved road ahead. Companies, like UaMaster, one of the leading internet marketing companies in Ukraine, are not happy with the progress, but they’re also not sitting put and counting on improvement to fall out of the sky. On May 30th, the company organized the first multinational internet marketing conference in Kiev, Ukraine; an event that was not only much called for, but as many hope, will set off a chain of similar events in the near future.

According to Maksym Khmara, an UaMaster executive, “Another thing that is not very good in terms of the internet in Ukraine, we are isolated and stuck. In neighboring Russia, who although located next door, has by far surpassed our [Ukraine’s] levels, there are a variety of websites that publish internet marketing information. A few times a month, Russia hosts online advertising and SEO seminars. The conferences held in Russia bring together participants from all of Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia and other former Soviet Union countries. In Ukraine, these are scarce.”

The idea is to strive towards similar progress and activity seen in neighboring countries, letting the internet evolution else where, seep into Ukraine. “That is why UaMaster is trying to increase interest in the internet not only as a fountain of information, but also as an attractive advertising medium, by organizing professional events, like the latest Internet Marketing conference or the upcoming seminar related to Yandex.”

For those following Yandex’s success in Russia, can follow the search engine to Kiev, Ukraine, where on July 14th and 15th the company’s directors will lead the UaMaster sponsored conference on Internet Marketing, entitled, “Search Advertising and Advertising opportunities in Yandex.” More than anything, this will be a 2-day long informative session to spice up the Ukrainian business world with the necessary enthusiasm and instill confidence in search marketing and online advertising in general, an advertising medium that is taking many new markets by storm, but is still fairly weak in Ukraine.

Participants will include representatives from internet agencies, offline marketing agencies, internet managers of large companies with an online presence in Ukraine, advertising firms, marketing strategists, web design studios and anyone else who is keen on learning more about internet marketing and marketing opportunities at Yandex, still barely explored in Ukraine.

Not only will participants receive a participant diploma, but they will also be able to take a Yandex internet advertising test to become certified internet marketing specialists, according to Yandex’ criteria.

The idea is to get the word out, so for anyone who is interested in attending the conference (in Russian), more information is available on a specially created Internet Marketing in Ukraine site, sponsored by UaMaster.

But for those of you who don’t speak Russian or just can’t make it to Ukraine, Multilingual Search (MSE) will make sure to put Ukraine’s efforts toward internet progress into the limelight, covering the highlights of the upcoming conference in future.

Sources:

AIN

Thursday, July 07, 2005

China Joins Spam Fight

An article at internetnews.com, annouced that China is joining the internation battle against SPAM.
China, the article notes, is the leading nation for zombie computers - infected computers that are used to send Spam. They have joined the 29 nation (and 17 private sector groups) task force to combat Spam.

Domain names now available with Greek characters!

The registration process started on Monday July 4th and the users’ response was overwhelming taking into account Greek standards.

Only at the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission and within a period of four hours, almost 5.000 applications for registration of domain names with Greek characters and the Latin “.gr” were submitted for authorization. This number will tend to increase significantly, since applications were also received by the rest of the officially accredited registrars (almost 260) that operate in Greece.

Based on the new regulation, a Greek domain name can be registered in upper or lower case letters based on the Greek alphabet using the equivalent punctuation while at the same time the domain will be registered on behalf of the same user at all possible combinations (with or without punctuation, in upper or lower case letters).

According to the Gr – Hostmaster, the registry of ".gr" domain names, a feature of the registration process of domains will be the concept of "Bundle". Bundled domains are going to be those that differentiate only in punctuation but are otherwise the same to a main form. Any domain that is a Homograph of the original registration, written with Greek characters that are similar with Latin characters, may also become part of the Bundle.

Domain names that could be registered in each bundle are not automatically registered for the registrant but are instead barred from the list of available domain names until this particular registrant decides to "Activate" one or more of them. Each activation has a cost, depending on the registrar the registrant decides to use.

Even though Greek officials believe that this initiative will further boost the use of internet in Greece, there are some concerns that the new format will confuse people.

It is worth noticing that the maximum registration cost for a domain name for a two years’ period is 44€ (plus 19% VAT), for the transfer of a domain the charge is also 44€ (plus 19% VAT), while the renewal fee for a period of two years is 29.30€ (plus 19% VAT). The companies that have been officially appointed as registrars, need to pay a fee of 11.8€ to the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission for every registration

Sources :
Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission
Gr - Hostmaster
List of the Greek characters available for registration
Greek homograph character table

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mozbot: New French Search Engine

Gary Price over at Search Engine Watch pointed this new engine out today. The engine is still in beta, and is getting its listings through a partnership with Google.

The add-ons seem to be the interesting elements that could make them popular. They have a personal "blacklist", a link to the archive.org (The WayBack Machine), Whois information, dictionary definitions and other additional features.

According the article Mozbot is looking to expand to the UK and US.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The latest on domains in Spain and Europe: Improvements and Obstacles

Since the launch of the new and improved (or in more practical terms, cheaper and more accessible) .es domains, Red.es is happy to report that the number of registrations for .es domains in June was twice as much as in the previous month, reaching 3,348 registrations on June 30th and adding up to a total of 94,744 domains with the local .es extension.

Red.es is committed to doubling the number within a year, to help bring Spain close to its European counterparts who are leading the way.

This increase is due to an important decision to make the local .es domain name registration much more accessible, by decreasing the bureaucratic obstacles as well as the exaggerated prices (now decreased by 71%). Currently, while in the first phase of the improved registration process, the simplified .es registration is available to official organizations and government agencies.

While the .eu domain registration is going to be put into action starting October, there is still the issue of what to do about special characters (ñ, ü, etc.) which are currently not recognized by most browsers. The EURid, the non-profit organization in charge of the .eu domain, will have plenty on their hands to make sure that the future .eu domain will indeed reflect the multilingual makeup of the European Union.

The .biz and .info domains are already being tested to support multilingual domains, but for now, just for the German speaking market. The EURid are in a rush to deal with the issue quite yet. The official launch is in October is limited and until the start of the unlimited registration in February 2006, special characters are not a priority. According to Javier Saenz, Director of Arsys, a private domain name registration company, “I don’t think in 2006.” Time will tell, but it is definitely an issue to be taken seriously; now that so many local and segmented domains are made available, they might be truly local.

Sources:

Noticiasdot

Clm innovación

Monday, July 04, 2005

Blogging, taking Spain…and the world

In a recent study by Auna, eEspaña, mentioned in an earlier post, blogging received its share of attention in a special section entitled eSociedad (eSociety).

Spain already has 68,000 blogs, but of course only half of them are actually active. It’s not difficult to get excited about writing a blog and then let that enthusiasm trail off. But even then, something has to be said for the Spanish “blogosphere” that doubles every 5-6 months.

Considering the importance of the Spanish language in the greater scheme of things, Spain is still nowhere near where it should be, in relation to other countries that relentlessly lead the pack. Take English for instance, a language drumming up a count of 1,300,000 blogs and French at 87,000 (with very strong growth in the last year). With Portuguese at 81,000 and Farsi with a striking 61,000, Spanish falls into 7th place, behind German and Polish.

Uncensoring. So while the spectacular GLOBAL blogging quilt blooms with ideas, outburst and reflection, why not help others dive into the frenzy of expression that’s taking the world, and Adopt a Chinese Blog.

Sources:
Navegante

Friday, July 01, 2005

Ask Jeeves, TPI, MSN, etc. Agreements, Strategy, Excitement

Alright, so yesterday’s news of TPI’s upcoming Noxtrum search engine adventure, took more than a few by surprise, after they signed an agreement with MSN just 10 days back to provide MSN Paginas Amarillas (MSN Yellow Pages).

But when that seemed to be the peak, today’s developments proved to put yet another, much more mind-boggling twist to the situation. Let’s just say, it’s not about being faithful to one these days and competition is not always an obstacle.

Ask Jeeves has now made an alliance with a number of companies in Spain to prep them for their official marketing launch in September. El Corte Ingles, the shopping monster will provide the product search. This is a very solid move on Ask Jeeves part, considering El Corte Ingles’ longtime reputation and trust with the Spanish public, as a company that can be trusted—even online. Not to mention the traffic El Corte Ingles website enjoys. The partnership with Vocento will provide latest news, and Softonic, part of Grupo Intercom and the most popular free and paid software download service, will provide an additional attraction to the Ask Jeeves Spanish search engine.



But where it gets especially interesting and unforeseen is that Ask Jeeves has also signed an agreement with TPI to do none other than to use their Yellow Pages for LOCAL businesses’ contact information. This sets all theories upside down and overboard. What’s next for the Noxtrum search engine that TPI plans to put in action by the end of this year? Perhaps seeing potential competitors shake hands in strategic agreements is a very good thing, but it’s definitely not easy to digest. As mentioned in an earlier post, TPI definitely has the ball in their court, since they own the Yellow Pages, golden local information, in more ways than one.

When it comes to Noxtrum, sources in the sector are not very optimistic: “I do not believe that they are going to be very successful. It will be very difficult for them to compete with the global leaders, because these have hundreds of engineers trying to invent new things in search'. But let’s not get to discouraged; a new player in a growing market can only add to the fire.

The above is food for thought, but there is more exciting news on Ask Jeeves’ plans in Spain. And speaking of competition, Ask Jeeves is well aware of its upcoming challenges, and understands it’s not Google they’re going to be up against, who receives 94% of all of Spain’s searches. Miguel Acosta, European New Business Development Director for Ask Jeeves, in charge of Spain, says that “although we arrive after Yahoo and MSN, they are fresh and are the only search engine that offers a differentiated search experience for the consumer.” With that said, it’s official; Ask Jeeves will be making a marketing push in September and expects to spend over a million on the marketing campaign. After launching Ask Jeeves España (beta) for the first time in Spain this last April and now during the intense testing period, receiving some very professional input from experts like the founders of E-Dreams and Buongiorno MyAlert, they want to be come the alternative to the rest.

Finally, before the big push, Ask Jeeves will also close additional deals with important portals to consolidate traffic. Like in other countries, the idea in Spain is to generate profits solely through advertising. For that, Ask Jeeves España will continue to rely on Google’s AdWords technology in Spain, as they are already doing in the U.S. and U.K.

All in all, when summer has passed, the search engine frenzy will flood Spain with a different kind of heat.

Sources:

Cinco Días

MSN Spaces: much more than a success in Spain



Let’s get back to MSN for a minute. Now here are some remarkable news: the use of MSN Spaces in Spain literally sky rocketed since it was launched on April 7th. That’s a million active users. Not too shabby. But to put that in perspective, for anyone who is still not impressed, Spain is in THIRD place, with the number of registered users surpassed only by the U.S. (2.5 million) and the U.K. (1.5 million). There’s more. Spain has the most active and fastest growing MSN Spaces user base than any other country.

Ironically enough, despite the noticeable growth in the Spanish market, according to Funadión Auna’s report, eEspaña 2005, Spain’s “information society” is quite a bit behind other European Union countries. To this day, only 34% of the Spanish population is online, falling short of the average 38.9%, not to mention 61% average in northern European countries. In fact, newly joined EU members, Cyprus and Slovenia, are at 53% and 47% respectively.

MSN Spain’s Spaces performance in the short timeframe and the enthrallment of the Spanish growing user base is indeed striking in the light of sluggish internet usage progress in general.

Sources:

ABC
Marketing Directo
Terra Actualidad

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Spanish newcomer with a local advantage (update)

If you thought search in Spain wasn’t exciting enough, think again! TPI (Telefónica Publicidad e Información), reaching 11.89 million in benefits last quarter, is about to throw some spice into the mix, where Google, MSN and Yahoo are running the show and other, determined newcomers (Seekport) are playing to win their share. If you have been following the blog, on the 26th MSE (Multilingual Search) told you that MSN and TPI teamed up to create MSN Páginas Amarillas (MSN Yellow Pages) in Spain.

There have been rumors of more and today they became news. While TPI, the leading provider of Yellow and White pages in Spain, a Grupo Telefónica filial, is offering their service on MSN there is news that before the end of the year TPI hopes to launch their own search engine, called Noxtrum. Noxtrum will use its own website, independent of any portal such as Telefónica (uses Terra and Google).

The company’s developers are building Noxtrum, which will concentrate on searches in Spanish and Portuguese, but worldwide it seems. To cover other languages, TPI plans on reaching syndicate technology agreements, (with whom?!) to be able to use other specialized robots.


Now that the news is out, there’s not much to think about; it’s strategically perfect! Noxtrum will have a stunning LOCAL advantage. The search engine will not only index, but will also be backed up by TPI’s own business directory database (2 million listings) that feeds the Yellow Pages, White Pages and more. In Spain there is still a huge percentage of businesses that do not have a website, which are therefore invisible to consumers who try to find them online. With Noxtrum’s integrated database, when someone searches for a specific service or business category and location (ie. Bookstore in Madrid), apart from the traditional results, the search engine will supply a listing of businesses with or without a website, as well as their location and contact information. Of course, TPI also offers maps and directions, so its easy to assume those will be a part of the search results. In fact, just last month TPI incorporated a map service that allows users to find businesses and professionals within a 500 or 1,000 meter radius of a chose location. Sounding familiar?

The ranking algorithm will have a number of the typical criteria—one of these being the website’s link popularity. Naturally, that will not be the sole factor. So far, the company assures that ranking will not be influenced by paid advertising, nor will companies that pay for other TPI services have an advantage. There will be a pay per inclusion program, however. Fortis Bank experts say that TPI could benefit from the project by offering greater exposure to companies in the Spanish market that do not have an internet presence, pay per inclusion and the traffic it generates.

Search technology is not new to TPI, since they already use it in their Yellow Pages, where Internet users can search for businesses and professionals by activity, product, brand, business name, province or specific location. In fact, TPI enjoys nearly half a million clients in its editorial version and a total of 2 million listings. If we step away from the three giants and more than a few aspiring search players, TPI is in a very nice position to step up to the plate, if local is the focus. Looks like the agreement with MSN earlier was a sign: TPI is not going to miss out on search.

Sources:

El País
Finanzas.com
Bolsamania.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Information on Broadband Access in Italy

Information on Broadband Access in Italy

 

 

 


"Osservatorio Banda Larga" provides updated information on broadband access in Italy. The web site requires registration and provides up to date studies and articles from qualified journals and newspapers.

New Spanish search engine about to appear?

Could the Spanish 'Paginas Amarillas' (Spanish Yellow Pages) be about to launch a new Spanish search engine?

Lucía Bartolomé contacted 'Multilingual Search' regarding having spotted a site at www.noxtrum.com under development. Currently only indexing is taking place.

Lucia says "The owner of the search engine is TPI (Telefónica Publicidad e Información), which is the owner of the spanish Yellow pages (www.paginasamarillas.es). They intend to link the information on the SERP with the information in the Yellow Pages, and basic inclusion in the search engine would cost 32€. They don't specify whether it's a monthly fee or whatever. "

TPI haven't officially informed us of any developments - we'll investigate and update this story as it develops.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hong Kong to Enact SPAM laws

The Direct Marketing News ran an interesting story that the Telecommunications Authority was getting ready to enact SPAM laws.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

MSN ties the knot with Telefónica Publicity and Information (TPI)

In an interesting move last week, MSN Spain, the leading portal in Spain and TPI (Telefónica Publicidad e Informacion), the principal business directory in Spain, have signed an agreement to integrate TPI’s yellow pages listings into a brand new channel of information, MSN Páginas Amarillas (MSN Yellow Pages). The joint venture makes available the 2 million listings in the TPI database to MSN Spain’s impressive 9.5 million monthly users.


Users will be able to conduct segmented searches, varying from activity, product, brand, company name, province, and city.

7 million registered MSN Messenger users in Spain will also be able to access the listings service directly from their messenger, by clicking on the “Actualidad” (MSN Today) tab, which among other things, features news and weather alerts.

Not only is the service available on the Páginas Amarillas (Yellow Pages) website, but MSN now has direct access on the MSN Spain portal to White Pages and a Maps/Directions service, two very popular TPI products.

According to Victor Castro, Country Manager MSN Spain, “with this agreement, MSN reaffirms our commitment to continue offering a web of information and communication services that adapts to the needs of our users. We are convinced that with the launch of MSN Páginas Amarillas we are making yet another step to situate ourselves as the leading online platform in the market. “


Source:

Marketing Directo
TPI
DiarioTI

Friday, June 24, 2005

eBay takes a juicy bite out of Spanish e-commerce

As published in an earlier post, “Spanish E-Commerce: Optimistically on the rise,” there are now 4 million Spaniards who rely on e-commerce. With 1,000,000 users in Spain, eBay announced that it has now reached 25% percent of the growing number. The number also indicates a 15.8% of the 9,000,000 Spanish online users. Pretty impressive.

Naturally, the newly released book, entitled, eBay: Como Hacerse Rico En Internet (eBay: How To Become Rich on the Internet) has already found a place in all major bookstores.




Sources:

EntreBits
Libertad Digital

Yahoo! Music Radio—Alive with the Spanish beat



On June 20th, Yahoo launched Yahoo! Música Radio (Yahoo Music Radio) in Spain, a service already available and successful in other European countries, but a newcomer to Spain. With more than 4 million users, Yahoo! Music is the top online music destination in Europe. It’s no surprise that Yahoo will now count on the popular service to grab another piece of the market by unlocking the music arena in Spain. The new service allows users to create and personalize their own radio channel, by evaluating and selecting favorite artists, albums and songs.

According to Noelia Fernandez, Director of Products and Services in Yahoo! Iberia, "In Spain, Yahoo Music is already very popular and has almost half a million users who visit the website to see videos and other contents. But the introduction of Yahoo Music Radio in the United Kingdom has created a new model, and has already captured many new users who are loyal to the product, doubling our audience."

The newly inaugurated service makes available 17 different radio channels, specifically programmed for the Spanish audience. Some of the channels include New Releases, Spanish Pop/Rock, Flamenco, Best of the 80’s, etc. The service is a part of Yahoo! Música, a free of charge service, which offers nearly 4,000 music videos, interviews, live performances and of course, an online store.

Sources:

Expansion

Europa Press
Vnunet
DiarioTI

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Italian ICTLex wins Freedom blog awards 2005


The European section of Reporters sans frontières has chosen the Italian blog www.ictlex.net as one of the most active Blogs defending freedom of speech. Ictlex.net was identified as the best blog in Europe, and one of the top 60 blogs worldwide.

Source: Corriere della Sera

Seekport nominates Elena Bonini Head of Index


Seekport Tecnologie, the new pan European Search Engine has nominated Elena Bovini Head of Index for Italian activities launched this past Tuesday.
Elena is responsible for the quality of results provided by seekport.it and is based in Milano. She will coordinate the editorial staff and oversee all search and indexing activities in Italy.

Register.it launches pre-registration procedure for .eu TLDs


Milano, June 23rd 2005 – Register.it leader on the Italian market of web site hosting, online visibility and part of the DADA Group has been officially authorised by EURid to accept preliminary registration of .EU TLDs as of today

Register.it is currently accepting pre registration of .EU TLDs free of charge at

http://we.register.it/domains/eu/

The offer is valid until August 31st 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fight over Misspelled "Googl" Domain In Australia

The Australian courts may determine who has the rights to misspelled versions of trademarked domain names. Accoording this story from ZNet a local Australian businessman bought the domain but the registrar decided to take it back as in their opinion it was an obvious misspelling of Google.
The businessman is now suing for the return of the domain and the decision of who has rights to misspellings in Australia will go to the courts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Seekport expands it’s reach to the Italian community

Seekport, the innovative European search engine which is already active in Germany, France, UK and Spain, expands it’s reach to the Italian community and launches seekport.it



Joachim Kreibich has answered our questions in a brief interview in connection with the launch of Seekport Italy:


1. Would you like to introduce Seekport - who is Seekport ? Where is Seekport based ? Is there going to be an office in Italy ?
Seekport is a pan-European search engine that provides an alternative to the US-based search engines that are dominating the market. We engage both in B2B as well as B2C activity. B2B means that we deliver search results to portals, publishers, ISPs, marketers etc. which incorporate our search functionalities in their online offerings. B2C is aimed at the end user - persons that want a high quality, country-specific offering with less spam and more relevant local content than what the US companies offer. Also, it is noteworthy that we are the only search company that already can offer vertical search - our users can choose if they want to search only in a certain thematic topic, and then only receive results from this category.
We are based in Germany, in Hamburg and Munich. Actually, the history of Seekport is closely connected to Infoseek - the persons involved are the same that made Infoseek to the most successful search engine in Germany in the beginning of the new century.

We have local index teams in all countries that we operate in, that ensure that the quality of the index is up to our standards and that the search results reflect the demands of the local country. Our teams are - next to Germany - in Paris, London, Madrid and now in Milano. At the end of the year, we will be present in 9 countries in Europe.

In Italy, we will start with a beta version, which will already incorporate the preview functionality. Other functionalities we offer will be introduced a little bit later, and we will also work heavily on the index in the beta phase. All users are welcomed to send us comments and suggestions.

2. Which is going to be the focus of Seekport - are your objectives a particular segment of the search market ?

See also above. We offer both general search as well as vertical search. Also, and very interesting for our B2B clients, we offer site and archive search, and this can be combined with the web searches, so that a B2B customer can display site or archive and web results on one page.

In general, we want to give our customers the best search experience possible. For example, in Germany we already offer various suggestions to make a search query more specific, so that the user really gets the search results he is actually looking for

3. Give us an overview of the main features of your search Engine

General country-specific or Europe-wide web search. Vertical (theme-oriented) web search. Example. A user is looking for virus. Now, this can be both virus as in computer virus, or health virus. If our user however chooses "Health" as his topic, he will only be displayed search results which deal with viruses such as HIV, hepatitis virus etc..

We will also offer clusters, query refinements etc. For our B2B clients, also the above-mentioned site and archive search are relevant.

4. The Seekport interface is geared towards country specific results. In Italy we have many English only web sites with a .it suffix - could you explain how you have organised country specific queries versus regional web sites ? Will for example .co.uk web site acquire a better visibility than .it ones if the user runs a search selecting the pages from a specific European country ?

In general, we aim to have search results that are very country-specific. Regarding your example: We know that the great majority of users searches in its own language, and prefers to have results that are in his language. This no longer is a problem, as there are now - at least in Europe - more than sufficient web pages to all topics in the local language. If a user wants to have more results, he can choose to search in all indices.

Now, if an Italian user looks for information in English and does not restrict his search to Italy, an Italian page will not be given a higher weight than a UK one. The results will be displayed by relevancy.

5. I have noticed that you are providing a free service called seekbot where you provide an analysis of a web site page - The results show that on page content is very important, even more important than the title tag - would you like to further elaborate the importance of on site factors compared to off site factors such as external links ??

I am sure that you will understand that we will not elaborate on our ranking algorithm. Many factors influence the positioning. But most certainly, the factors described in seekbot are important. Seekbot is a tool for the normal webmaster that might not know too much about what is important for placement in search engines in general, and might not be aware of what he should do as a minimum.

6. Spamdexing is a very serious issue all search engines are closely looking at to remove poor quality web sites - where does Seekport stand on this issue ?

We very much disapprove of spamdexing, and try to keep our index as free of spam as possible. This is why we have quality teams; these teams - among other tasks - try to keep up with what spam is present in the local countries, and take on countermeasures. Of course technology plays an important part in this.

7. You have introduced a very interesting preview window function that allows the user to view the web site before actually clicking on the link that would take him/her to the web site: Would you like to elaborate on this original implementation on SERPs ??

We think all features that help users evaluate if a search result might be relevant for him are useful. As mentioned above, we have various functionalities that follow this goal, and there will be more to come

8. What is Seekpot’s view on local search and geotargeting ?

Very important, and we are working on it

9. Will Seekport have a Directory ?

No, this is not planned. I would like to stress that our vertical search offering is not based on a directory, but on an innovative technology that analyses the web pages that are crawled and then assigns a "theme"/topic automatically. This is an advanced technology, which we have registered for a patent

10. Can you give us any insight on your plans regarding Pay per Inclusion or Pay Per Click programs ?

We will of course have a pay per click program on our site (after all, we need to make money), but not in the very beginning. Pay per inclusion is not planned.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Online Marketing Europe-A Conference not to be missed!

Have plans for June 22nd-23rd?

Well, if you are serious about online marketing in Europe, you should be booking to Mallorca, Spain, to take advantage of the first Online Marketing Europe (OME), an International Congress and Exhibition for online marketing.



According to OME’s website, the conference “caters for many different fields including Online Marketing, Mobile Marketing. e-business and purchasing agents for the Media sector as well as technical service providers.” With a special focus on tourism and online payment systems, the exhibition will host some of the most renowned European companies and speakers:

Bruce Hoang-Interactive Advertising Bureau
Holger Kamin-Zanox
Alberto Díaz-Yahoo
Laurence Fontinoy-Ebay
Miguel Esteban-24/7 Real Media
Stephan Musikant-Ciao AG
Joan Grau-Media Contacts
Miguel de Reina-Google
Stéphane Cordier-AdLink
Dirk Freytag-ADTECH AG
Michael Stusch-EasyAd
Christian von Hammel-Bonten-Wired Card AG
Juan Carlos Fernández-Overture
Dr. Dorothee Ritz-MSN
Pablo Foncillas-Spainair
Dominique Loumaye-Espotting
Antonio Batanero-Sol Melia
Nils Hachen-denkwerk
Jens Leinert-Webtrade
Eric Urdahl-Web.de
Ingo Lippert-MindMatics AG
Marcos Luengo-Lastminute.com
Marco van Sterkenburg-Bibit Global Payment Service
Dimitrios Haratsis-Eprofessional
Aquilino Peña-Wanadoo
Stefan Kipp-Hotel Reservation Service
Thomas Hille-T Online
Manuel Lopez-Planeta Web
Victor Navarro-Victornavarra.com
Mike Beattie-Sepomo
Andreas Stefanis-Pago eTransaction Services GmbH
Dr. Thomas Gerteis-Global Media GmbH
Morten E. Wulff-TraceWorks
André Boeder-easyDebit ePayment GmbH
Joshua Novick-Antevenio
Gustavo Nuñez-Nielson/NetRatings
Juan Diego Oliva-TradeDoubler
Gabriel Pieras Coli-Sa Nostra
Marcus Koch-BVWA

Some of the agenda highlights include Miguel de Reina’s (Google’s Country Manager Spain & Portugal) presentation on search engine marketing and search engines as the motor of world tourism; Miguel Estaban from 24/7 Real Media will focus on search engine optimization and Eric Urdahl from Web.de will discuss: “One Step to European Diversity: European Targeting Solutions for European Sales and Media Campaigns.” The tourism industry will be in the spotlight, with presentations from Media Contacts, Lastminute.com, Sol Melia and others.There is plenty to hear for online marketing professionals. For example, in his presentation, Juan Diego de Oliva from TradeDoubler will concentrate on the importance of return on investment in online marketing campaigns: “Are you squeezing the most out of your online marketing budget? Improving your Online ROI across Europe.” For a closer look at the agenda visit the OME website, offered in 3 languages.

What makes this international online marketing congress stand out, are not only its eminent speakers, but its specific concentration and unique focus on online marketing on Europe.

Spain breaks the mark--number of high speed connections grow

According to the Internet User Association (AUI), at the end of May, Spain reached 4,034,317 internet users with high speed internet connections; 3,124,517 users opted for DSL and 873,000 rely on cable connections.

Not surprisingly 80% of these connections originate from urban locations and 50% off all connections come from Madrid and Barcelona. To continue the trend, AUI maintains that prices will need to continue to drop. On average, a DSL connection in Spain costs 45 euros, incomparable to other European countries, where the user pays less and receives more (connection speed).

According to a study performed by Tatum, a Spanish commercial and marketing consulting firm, with 14,445,289 internet users, Spain has now taken 12th place in the world.

Sources:

La Razon Digit@l
NoticiasPyme
MinutoDigital

PayPal Speaks Spanish



Two weeks ago, PayPal took on yet another frontier, as they launched their services in Spain. 250,000 Spanish users were already taking advantage of this practical payment method in English. Now they will be able to enjoy the service in their own language (www.paypal.es), much like in the U.K., Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and France.

PayPal will be offering customer support to their Spanish customers and in the very near future will provide a buyer protection program, which in other EU countries provides 400 euro coverage in case the buyer does not receive the product they have paid for.

The service will initially be used to support Ebay España transactions, although PayPal promises that they will open the service to other online operations.

With e-commerce spending up 20% since last year, this is a timely move.

Sources:

entreBits

CincoDias
Navegante

Spanish E-Commerce: Optimistically on the rise

In a recent study, Red.es and the Spanish E-Commerce Association (AECE-FECEMD) have come to some very exciting conclusions about the growth of e-commerce in Spain. While 1,837 million euros is relatively modest in comparison to European counterparts, the number indicates a 20% increase from last year’s internet consumer spending.

The second study of its kind, shows that nearly 4,000,000 (11.2 % of the Spanish population) over the age of 14 are making online purchases, leaving behind an average of 464 euros per person (an increase of 6%). Since last year, the number of internet users, converted into online customers has increased by nearly 500,000.

The director of Red.es, Ramon Palacio, recognized that the numbers still leave plenty to look forward to, but because average Spanish consumer falling under the young, mid-upper class and educated label, there is hope that Spain will soon join the rest of the European (EU) crowd.

The study underlines a recurring obstacle: In Spain people continue to feel uncomfortable and insecure buying online, while there is really no reason for them doubt the security of the transactions. 28% still feel uneasy about the payment process and 20% are reluctant to give out their personal information online. Nevertheless, online transactions are relying more and more on the credit card (65.4%), while the popular COD method has progressively declined(18.5%).

On the other hand, 58.9% recognize that the reason they did make an online purchase was because of the comfort and simplicity of buying online; 27.2% believe that buying online opens the door to more competitive prices and promotions and 18.1% claim that they are able to access a much wider selection of products.

Although minor (1%), there was even an increase in international transactions—52% of their online spending goes to international businesses. The reason behind these numbers, of course is a wider selection and lack of these products in Spain. While the increase is small, the implications are not to be taken lightly.

The leading, in-demand products? That is no surprise. Travel, electronics and books are the persistent forerunners; 30.4% of total spending went to airline, bus and boat tickets, 14% to electronics, and 12.7% to books.

80.4% of survey takers admit that their online purchase experience has met their expectations--the potential for continuous growth is more than abundant, but as Red.es and AECE underline: the key lies in educating and encouraging the average internet user to feel more confident and comfortable with online transactions.

For more interesting data, download the complete B2C Ecommerce Study 2005 (in Spanish).

Sources:

Red.es
AECE
CincoDias
MarketingDirecto

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Scary Non-Privacy Issues in Europe

CNet reports in this article that though the European Union government failed to adopt Privacy legislation, requiring ISPs to record all electronic communication, it seems the individual countries have decided to implement the laws.

As the article mentions "U.K. communication service providers already retain data on customers' phone calls, e-mails and Web behaviour for one year, thanks to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

.EU Registrar Accreditation

Starting 11.00 (CET) on 16 June 2005, the European Registry of Internet Domains we will begin to accredit .eu registrars

Web Agencies liable for trademark infringements on .it Domain Names

A recent ruling of an Italian court has caused turmoil in the online industry. A maintainer was tried and found guilty of setting up a domain name on behalf of a customer, who was infringing trademark laws of a well-known enterprise operating in Italy.

In the online search industry the domain name may become a relevant part of the search strategy: keyword-rich domain names have been known to be favoured by search engines, giving them the ever-so-slight advantage on competition. It is not uncommon to seek a local presence by setting up a new local domain to acquire visibility.

The procedure to set up an .it domain name involves 3 parties:
  • The Italian Registration Authority (NIC.it)
  • A Provider/Maintainer
  • The end user
A maintainer is typically a web agency or internet provider who deals directly with NIC.it. The end user is required to undersign a formal request of activation (called la lettera di assunzione responsabilità). The maintainer is required to follow a technical procedure to finalise registration.

The provider/maintainer, formally considered neutral in the process, is now held responsible and accountable for damages caused to others should infringements on registered trademarks be raised by a 3rd party.

The court identified providers/maintainers as an active party in setting up a domain name. By registering a domain name that relates to a registered trademark, the sentence identified the actions of the provider/maintainer similar to those of a “counterfeiter”.

The judge defined domain name purchasing as a typical entrepreneurial activity where risk is involved: Providers/Maintainers requesting the activation of a domain name, possibly a registered trademark, are being warned: You are liable for trademark infringements in Italy.

Spanish newsletters on crutches

Internet marketing and e-commerce is really taking off in Spain. But one cannot argue that it is not a bumpy road with plenty of room for improvement. In their study, Netyidea, a Spanish internet marketing strategy firm, who analyzed Spanish e-newsletters from two points of view, (1) the newsletter as a valuable user experience and
(2) the newsletter as an instrument of customer loyalty, has come to a rather disappointing conclusion:
Spanish companies are not as conscious as they should be about the importance of newsletters to securing customer loyalty.

After signing up for a newsletter, a mere 65% actually receive one, while the other 35% are left with a truncated relationship. During registration, when collecting potential customer data, 58% of businesses settle just for the email address, making it impossible to segment their user base and personalise newsletters, correspondence and advertisements.

61% of newsletters aim to generate direct client response, while the remaining 39% are used purely for branding purposes. Despite their objectives, Spanish companies are leaving plenty of room for improvement during the entire cycle of newsletter mailing (from customer data collection, result analytics and strategic improvements).

Not measuring the effectiveness and performance of their newsletters is truly the most detrimental flaw. Only 40% of newsletters arrive with a mechanism that measures whether they have been opened at all. 52% are measuring actual click throughs, and only 35% include the necessary code to track the entire path taken by the user after opening a newsletter.

But there is no need to get discouraged; on the contrary, although occasionally stumbling, Spain is moving in the right direction.

China's Sohu Commits to Emphasize Search

Sohu seems to have adopted the Avis moto, "We try harder." And, taking the global Google out of the mix, like the Avis, Sohu is China's number two search engine.

The Chinese government has tightened restrictions on internet companies, and search engines and portals in particular. With a ban on two of the largest income producing search areas; adult content and gambling, Chinese search companies need to reach out to other industries.

The interesting aspect of this is the non-capitalist Chinese may have to embrace their antithesis.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Greek Internet Usage statistics

Half of the Greek youth (aged 15-29) are online. This is the one of the main findings of a recent report based on the profile of the new generation provided by the Department of Communication and Mass Media of the University of Athens. Taking into consideration that the current internet penetration of the general population reaches a bit more than 20%, this is promising news for the .gr community, which has to be taken into consideration for future investments on the local internet market.

But what really are the characteristics of the Greek internet user? This is a question replied by the 2004 survey* conducted by VPRC on behalf of the Greek Government. According to the data provided, the main reasons** Greeks use the internet are e-mail (21.5%), information seeking for products and services (17.7%), information for news, weather etc (11.7), gaming (11.5%), music (9.7%), education (7.8%), information for Public Services (3.2%), online shopping (2.3%) and rest (14.6%).

From those people that use the internet, 81,3% declare that have not proceeded into any kind of buy through the web, while 18.7% have done so. Specifically, 81% of those who have made a purchase repeated the action within 2004. Greeks usually buy books (21.1%), PC hardware/software (17.2%), travel tickets (8.3%), CDs (8.2%), apparel (7.6%), services (5.8%), auto parts (5.7%), DVDs (5.6%), hotel booking services (3.8%).

The reasons behind their decision to buy online rest mainly on the convenience provided by the web (28.2%), Unavailability of specific products in the Greek market (28.1%), competitive pricing (26%) and variety of offered goods (10.1%). The average yearly amount spent per user reaches 1.114 euro and the charges are mainly billed through credit cards (58%).

Crossing to the other side, those that do not shop online project their own arguments: No trust on the billing system (34.5%), no need to do so (31.2%), cannot see/touch the product (20.1%) and no trust on shipping services (7.2%).

While this is the profile of the internet user/shopper, according to another survey provided by Eurostat, 87% of Greek SME (Small and Medium Size Enterprises) and 100% of large businesses take advantage of the internet.

Concluding, the Greek Government has undertaken a number of initiatives to educate and facilitate users while at the same time assisting companies both financially and by providing the infrastructure with the aim to promote and increase the usage on internet.

(* Full survey is provided in Greek only, here)
(** Survey respondents were able to choose one single reply for each category of questions)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Country-specific Links in Google Rise in Global SERPs

A recent thread at Search Engine Watch forums discusses the improving positions of country-specific domains in the Google SERPs.

Whether this is a change in the algorithm or just that more international webmasters are developing increased links in the international community has yet to be determined. But the most insightful post discusses the fact that local inbound links have a big impact for results in that locality. If you are looking to improve your site for a specific country get links from that country - even non-topic specific links (though this I am going to test before taking it as a fact).

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ukraine: Internet Censorship?

As the Ukrainian government has decreed the governing of websites by enforcing compulsory registration, before websites go online. This latest move has led to serious commotion among the local media, as well as Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who claim the decree is an infringement on freedom of speech and a giant leap towards internet censorship.

So far, obligated registration is practiced in China and Vietnam, notorious for their lack of freedom of expression and heavy censorship.

After the decree, adopted on May 18th, RSF is keeping a watchful eye on Ukraine, in fear that the country will fall victim to the same fate.


According to RSF, not only must websites register with authorities, but “to be allowed to appear, sites must not call for ‘a change of government through violence" or support "terrorism", not damage individuals' ‘honour’, ‘dignity" or ‘reputation’ and not post ‘swear words’ or pornographic content.”

For the time being, the Ministry of Transport and Communication assures the concerned organizations that registration of websites will only be compulsory for government websites.

The original decree, presented on April 27th, did in fact include both public and private sites, but apparently declared private websites optional, when it received severe criticism of an obvious attempt at internet censorship.

Sources:
Reporters Without Borders

Yahoo! News

Russian RSS Portal launched

'Kanban

This week saw the launch of the first aggregation site for Russian RSS feeds, called Kanban.ru. In the same way as the popular Technorati or Bloglines service Kanban will work to become a central portal for the new RSS format.

Artyom Kashehlebov, Kanban project leader, explains in interview that it is important for people to realise that RSS is far more than simply news. They will be actively collecting blog, weather and other resource feeds through this site. The project is focused on encouraging a strong community through voting and comments on individual listings.

Artyom welcomes the marketing possibilities of RSS, “In the future we see income being generated from paid services and the new kinds of advertising it offers. We are working on this now”

A Video a Day keeps Digital Divide Away


Starting June 13th TgBlog will broadcast daily a 30" video on the Internet for those wanting to use it but don't know where to start.

TgBlog focus is information and useful tips on how to make the web part of everyday life to find a job, travel, listen to music and find useful information.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

China Requires Blog and Site Registration

The freedom of the web is limited by the country it is connected to these days.

As the article from Reporters Without Borders tells us China now requires every blogger and webmaster to register their online presence.

China appears to be leading the way in Internet despotism. Though the Chinese government is suggesting 75% jumped to and registered, I find that hard to believe. It is more likely the governemnt has a much lower number for Chinese based websites.

The funny thinng about this annoucement is that it comes at a time when big internet businesses are pushing into the Chinese market. Hopefully capitalism will help erode confidence in the Communist regime and eventually things will change.