Domain Seizures Claim to Be Part of Immigration Security Program

Intellectual property violations are the reasons being cited for Homeland Security’s seizure of “hundreds of websites for alleged… violations”. The domains seized however were not in violation of any intellectual property laws.

The article follows in part below.

US Immigration Services Blasted for Domain Seizures
By John P. Mello Jr., PCWorld

A sudden move last week to return a hip-hop site to its owner after it was seized and held by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a year has renewed criticism of the agency’s domain confiscation program called In Our Sites.

Since its launch in June 2010, the initiative, spearheaded by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) directorate, has seized hundreds of websites for alleged intellectual property violations, including a raid on "Cyber Monday" that shut down 150 websites for selling or distributing counterfeit goods.

The return of the domain to its owner "Splash" provoked one of In Our Sites most vocal critics, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), to vow to probe the situation. “I expect the administration will be receiving a series of FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests from our office and that the senator will have very pointed questions with regard to how the administration chooses to target the sites that it does," Wynden spokesperson Jennifer Hoelzer told Wired Magazine.

She added that the senator was “particularly interested in learning how many secret dockets exist for copyright cases. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious precedent or explanation for that."

Read more HERE

Google Impact of 35% Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better

As the article below points out, an ‘impact’ of 35% does not necessarily mean that it will be an improvement. In this instance, the impact will be in the ‘freshness’ of the results that are returned. We won’t need to type 2011 to get a top or recent story from this year.


Google Search Algorithm Change For Freshness To Impact 35% Of Searches; Twitter Firehose Remains Off
Nov 3, 2011 at 12:25pm ET by Barry Schwartz

Google announced they are rolling out a new search algorithm change that helps make the search results “fresher.” The big news here is that besides for the results being fresher, the results will change for about 35% of all searches.
Caffeine Was Infrastructure, This Is Algorithmic

Fresher results can make for more relevant results, which is why Google moved over to the caffeine infrastructure last year. That was only an infrastructure change, to make sure Google can index, crawl and return results faster. Now Google changed their search algorithm to show fresher results, fresher than ever before.

Google said:

We completed our Caffeine web indexing system last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.

35% Of The Searches Are Impacted

That is larger than the Panda update which impacted 12% of the searches conducted.

What type of searches does it impact? Google said:

Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [occupy oakland protest], or for the latest news about the [nba lockout], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.
Regularly recurring events. Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [NFL scores], [dancing with the stars] results or [exxon earnings], you’ll see the latest information.
Frequent updates. There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information.

Postscript From Danny Sullivan: Had a chance to get some questions answered from Google now, plus some addition issues, below….
Freshness Ranking Not New, Just Apparently Improved

It’s not new for Google to do a boost of fresh content. “Query Deserved Freshness” is a content ranking factor that dates back to 2007. The Caffeine update of last year made it possible, Google said, to gather content even faster, which in turn could potentially be ranked better.

So what’s different now? Apparently, freshness is getting even more rewarded, having an impact on one out of three searches. That’s huge — though it’s unclear what it was before. For all we know, 35% of searches were already being impacted by freshness ranking. The previous number was never stated (and yes, we’re checking with Google on this).

Postscript: Google says the change is providing “fresh” content for twice as many queries as before. In other words, the old “freshness” algorithm had an impact on about 17.5% of queries. Now it impacts double that figure, 35%.
Potential For “Freshness” Spam

There are potential downsides. Sometimes you do want to reward fresh content. But what’s fresh? If someone simply makes a small change to a page, does that give it a fresh boost? If someone reposts exactly the same content on a new page a day or two after initially posting it, is that fresh? Is when the page was first found define freshness, or is the first modified date used?

Does this open Google up to an even worse situation than can already happen with Google News now, where publishers file and refile stories in an effort to win the freshness race there, since the latest versions of stories often get top billing.

Rewarding freshness potentially introduces huge decreases in relevancy, new avenues for spamming or getting “light” content in. Most likely, Google’s going to use a combination of search ranking factors to help qualify when it wants to trust something is both fresh and good.

Google wouldn’t say how “freshness” is being determined, but it did tell us in response to questions that being fresh wasn’t the only thing being rewarded:

Freshness is one component, but we also look at the content of the result, including topicality and quality.

Postscript: Google now tells us that one of the freshness factors — the way they determine if content is fresh or not — is the time when they first crawled a page. So if you publish a page, and then change that page, it doesn’t suddenly become “fresh.”
Freshest Info Still Missing: Twitter

Also unclear is the situation with Twitter. The largest amount of “fresh” information on the web are tweets. Despite the growth of Google+, the volume of tweets happening far eclipses the content there.

Google has been without timely access to tweets since July. It simply cannot crawl Twitter fast enough without receiving the “firehose” of Twitter data to keep up. Today’s announcement does nothing to solve this. Google is only introducing a ranking change, not an indexing change that brings in more tweets.

I asked about this issue, how Google still lacks the Twitter firehose and was told:

Often times when there’s breaking news, microblogs are the first to publish. We’re able to show results for recent events or hot topics within minutes of the page being indexed, but we’re always looking for ways we can serve you relevant information faster and will work to continue improving

35% Change Doesn’t Mean 35% Improvement

A final but important caveat. It’s important not to misinterpret the percentage Google gave out — a 35% change to its results — to mean they are 35% improved.

I saw this the first time we saw Google start talking about a percentage change to it search results, when the Panda Update was said to create at 12% impact. Some assumed that meant a 12% improvement. It didn’t.

We have no commonly accepted way of rating search engine result quality in a numeric fashion. No third party measures if Google or Bing’s results are “90%” good, for example. This means there’s no way to say whether something has improved by a particular percentage.

Google is clear what it means when it puts these percentages out. I’ve never seen them say that they’re to be interpreted as some type of improvement metric. But people do make that mistake — and shouldn’t.

Internet Media Beats Ad-Supported for 2011

A very clear lead for Internet use, over other types of entertainment media, is expected in 2011. Already, Internet related media exposure has increased substantially for the average user, with a preference for shorter verses longer clips, and movement away from ad-supported television and print entertainment.

What this means for website owners is that 2011 promises to be a year of search driven online traffic by consumers, and the need for better SEO and content to get them to your site.

The forecast article follows below.

Forecast: Internet Expected To Exceed All Other Ad Media By 2011

Aug 7, 2007 at 9:35am ET by Greg Sterling

Private equity and investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) put out a new ad spending forecast, covered in MediaPost and the Financial Times. Driven by audience migration, the US Internet is anticipated to capture $61.98 billion and become the top ad medium in 2011. Traditional media will show slow, low single-digit growth while alternative media will grow at a compound annual rate of 17.4 percent during the forecast period.

According to the MediaPost write-up of the VSS findings, consumers are spending less time with media overall and less time with “push” vs. “pull” media in particular:

At the same time, the consumer migration to digital media–which require less time investment than traditional media counterparts (think 3-minute YouTube clips versus 30-minute TV shows)–has spawned a year-over-year decline in the amount of time consumers spent with media, VSS researchers say. The tally came in at 3,530 hours in 2006, a per-capita decrease of 0.5%. It’s the first time since 1997, researchers say, that such a behavior has occurred.

Consumers are also migrating away from ad-supported media and spending more time with media they support, according to the VSS Forecast. Consumers spent an average of 1,631 hours in 2006 with consumer-supported media, such as the Internet and video games–a gain of 19.8% compared to 2001. Time spent with ad-supported media, such as broadcast television and newspapers, has fallen 6.3% since 2001 to 1,899 hours per person.

While forecasts are often inflated and make assumptions that don’t come to pass as quickly as expected, VSS claims its forecasts are historically very accurate:

The VSS Forecast also features the industry’s most accurate spending forecasts, producing a margin of error of +/- 2% for 9 of the last 10 years. The margin of error for the 2006 forecasts was + 0.4%.

VSS projects paid search will reach roughly $8.7 billion by year end and $16.7 billion in 2011. The report also projects roughly $6 billion in local search and online yellow pages spending by 2011. All locally targeted online ad spending is expected to reach just over $19 billion by 2011.

Search Engine Dynamics

When you perform a search using Google, you are not actually searching the entire Internet, only a portion of the Internet called an ‘Index’. The Index is chosen by Google’s software program, using what they call ‘Spiders,’ and keeps an assortment of web pages on file for Google to sift through whenever you type in your search terms. In helping Google comprise their Index, the Spiders initially sift through a selection of pages containing various topics of information, and then search the links associated with those pages as well. Then, you type in your search terms, and Google searches its Index of pages for the terms you have specified.

Google determines which pages to pull to answer your search questions by using several parameters including counting the number of times your keywords appear on the page, where they appear on the page, whether there are related words or phrases on the page or variations, the quality of the website where the page originates, and what the ‘Page Rank’ is of this particular website, among other factors. Page Rank is determined by the amount of outside websites that are linked to the page, and the quality of the links themselves.

SEO Guidelines for 2011

In the game of optimization and ranking, content is still the best and most entertaining way to get customers and clients to your website. This year promises to be among the strongest in terms of SEO and search engines locating your site within the vast indexes held by Google and other search giants.

While content can help your pages climb to the top with the right keyword weight, relying upon it soley would place you at a disadvantage, as search engine optimization plays a vital role in making sure that your great keyword content is seen by as many eyes as possible.

To that end, several experts suggest a few pointers for making sure you stand out, without appearing too overeager in the process.

Links Matter

Excessive linking is a flare for search engines, but you still need to have a few per post to establish the legitimacy of your information, and to create inbound links for yourself within your site.

People Love Pictures

And so do search engines. Properly tagged images can generate incoming search traffic for people looking for pictures online. Remember to include the word picture, and tag your photos with keywords appropriate to the content they both portray and enhance in your post.

Be Bold

Header text and bolding can be very useful when used sparingly throughout your website. Placing your keyword in the title of your post, and highlighting with phrases you feel are most important in describing your content will give them greater search relevance as well. Proper use of this technique will bring your posts to the attention of search engines, as long as you do so sparingly.

Map Out Your Site

Providing a sitemap is not only helpful to visitors, but search engines love them because it gives them a roadmap to what is on your site and where to find it. Relevant links pop out, and links that might get passed over are easier to locate as well.

Great content and inbound links are the mainstays for any great ranked site. These tips will not help at all, unless you have the content to back them up. If you are on top of keeping your site interesting and up to date however, these tips can help mean the difference between getting noticed on page one, and not getting noticed until, and if, anyone moves beyond it.

Levin, L. (2010). 5 SEO Tips Every Website Owner Should Know.

What is SEO?

Today there will be millions of searches performed on the Internet, many of them looking for
exactly what you have to offer. The process of getting your website to the number one spot on page one  is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO has proven to be one of the most cost -effective forms of marketing available, out pacing traditional media at an astounding rate, with projections and statistics very promising for future success in reaching a large percentage of the population with your products or services. Search optimization is a hyper-competitive endeavor that requires intense focus and a thorough,up-to-date understanding of how the search engine algorithms and robots operate.

Tangible Traffic has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over half a decade. Driven
by the need to help previous businesses succeed and responding to a constantly changing
environment our tactics, education, and information is continuously evolving to meet the needs of our clients. Our straightforward approach has consistently delivered results, which is why we are so optimistic about search marketing. When we apply our processes so your current website and networking systems,  you may be assured of achieving ever improving levels of success, both online and off.

In addition to search engine optimization, we provide other Internet marketing services
including: search-friendly web design, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, link building
programs, social media optimization, blog optimization and marketing, and targeted local search

Now that you know what SEO is, if you are not already keenly aware that you need to optimize your visibility and reach online, you will become aware within the next five years, perhaps sooner. Why wait? Contact us today for an evaluation and plan to fit your needs.