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Monday, September 17, 2007

Solve a click fraud problem, get a job interview

Datashaping has initiated a clever approach to helping companies find the right candidates, and/(or?) just get some cost-free creative thinking about real-world problems. A post on the datashaping blog today advertising a 'Data Mining Contest: Uncover Criminal Activity in a Real Fraud Case', with the following incentive...'participants providing an interesting answer will be invited to apply for a Sr. Fraud Analyst position with Authenticlick'. Even for folks not in the job market, it's an interesting opportunity to work with online fraud data. Anyone interested in working together on this to gather more click fraud data experience? Those interested in the position can also register separately and participate in the group approach discussions.

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Social networking

I found an interesting article in today’s Financial Times – ‘Yahoo takes on social networks’. Yahoo generated a new website called Mash. This is Yahoo’s second attempt to launch a social network. Do you think that Mash could compete with MySpace and Facebook here in the USA?

Another article in today’s Financial Times – ‘CEO who puts profits second’. This is an article about the CEO of Craigslist, a popular website among users. Unlike any other CEO, Jim Buckmaster puts profits second. His management philosophy is different from other companies, yet they hit the jackpot. To quote some of his management philosophies: (1) No meetings, ever. “I find them stupefying and useless”. (2) No management programs and no MBAs. Do you think there’s a chance in the near future that they will be bought by Yahoo, Google, or even Microsoft?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

SEO - Small Business Implications

I have always been a bit weary of search engine optimization. To me, the value of the internet is in a user's ability to search unbiased listings.

That said, there is a value in properly listing a webpage, such as what Nigel does for his non-profit client. The demand for a good search engine helps eliminate "black hat" SEO practices, which seems to be successful for the most part.

Does SEO increase the entry-cost for firms to get started on the internet? In order to get top listings, especially for generic product searches, a smaller business has one more cost to cover. Does anyone see this as a significant consideration? More broadly, what is the future of small-businesses online?

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Different View of Google News

Has anyone seen Newsmap? Although it's been around for a while now, this website creates an alternate graphical view of the Google News homepage. News stories with the most links to external news sources are positioned in a larger context than less popular ones. At a quick glance viewers can see all the day's news in a visually compelling manner, without having to scroll or spend time reading for relevancy.

Alternate country Google News views can be overlaid with a single mouse click, allowing for the visual "hot news" metaphor to be applied across other cultures. It's a fascinating glimpse of how data can be presented in new ways.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Barak Obama on LinkedIn.com

Here's his LinkedIn Profile and an article
talks about how this represents Barak's approach to connect with the 29 + professional crowd. When his staff accepted my LinkedIn request this morning I became the 268th contact. There are over 400 now, a few hours later! Kind of amazing to watch from near the starting point, and surprising that his contact list is growing relatively slowly 3 days in to launching a profile. (It may be somewhat by design, there are a couple unspecific links on the page, if you visit the site to issue your own invitation request.) This article talks about how US presidential candidates are using the web in their campaign.

What role do you think technology will have in the presidential election? Will it be minimal or specific to young professionals, and is it critical for candidates to establish a presence on FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, Meetup.com to capture voter share in all voter segments? A quick look at the handy Google Trends site introduced below a few weeks ago gives a snapshot of relative candidate popularlity. (If this is any indication, John McCain looks like the candidate to beat overall)

What role do you think Social Networking will have and how important will Search Engine Optimization be for the candidates? What kind of impact will other emerging technologies have in this election?

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Future of News

What's a newspaper to do in this new age of the Interwebs? A thought-provoking article published earlier this year on the iA blog discusses this media shift with added emphasis on the user interface itself. Is the online version of a printed paper the same albeit in a different format? At what point should the two versions diverge? And then the classic conundrum, should the online version be free?

Also check out their fascinating Web Trends 2007 map. The evolution of the 200 most successful websites is plotted out like a city Subway map displaying proximity, category, popularity and other key attributes relative to each other.

iA is an interesting brand strategy company based in Japan (brand = interface). FYI. Did you know that in late July (once also-ran) gaming company Nintendo overshot Sony to become the fifth largest company in Japan by market value? This was purely on the back of the successful Wii launch, and the rethink about who their future audience was.

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Meeting topics?

Does anyone have any topics they'd like to discuss at the next meetup? With our diverse interests we lose a lot of time explaining what something is, so if people have time they can look things up beforehand.

I'd like to discuss Google Trends. As a marketing tool I am confident that it can play a role at some stage of research, but as I have no marketing experience, I cannot tell how powerful it is. What do the experienced marketing folks think?

Here are some elements to consider:

If it is super-useful, what does it mean that anyone can get the same data immediately and for free?

The trend maps provide only relative information--they only number they provide is the date. Thus, if you display one search-term, the information only tells you the variance--it is only a ratio compared to the average search-rate. How helpful is this? The data has to be somewhere, right? Does Google not want to share the specifics for some reason?

If anyone else has any topics, please post them! Here are a couple entertaining google-trends searches:

Craigslist




Meetup




ZeFrank




easter seals