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Yahoo’s Top Search Terms of 2008
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Some years from now I’ll be recounting the pivotal year of 2008 to my daughter as she seeks to understand the world into which she was brought. Perhaps Yahoo’s review of the top search terms will aid us in our investigation of that world, and help her decide whether 2008 was a good time to be born or not.

I’ll have to tell her that in 2008, Yahoo searchers were still more interested in Britney Spears and professional wrestling than the first African American President of the United States.

Google Teams With NORAD To Track Santa
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Google is again teaming with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to track Santa Clause starting today December 1 through Christmas Eve.

Visitors to the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site will be able to access entertaining holiday games and activities that will change daily.

On December 24, Christmas Eve, NORAD will begin tracking Santa’s trip with live video feeds that begin at the following times:

Black Friday Traffic Proved Too Much For Some Sites

Pessimistic onlookers believed retailers’ websites would do little more than attract tumbleweeds this Black Friday.  A sort of reverse situation came into being, however, as stampede-worthy traffic levels were significant enough to cause slowdowns and at least one crash.

Text Ads Appear in Google Image Search

Google appears to be testing text ads on its image search. Michael Gray has a screenshot:

Google Image Search ads

What Does Everyone Think About Facebook Connect?

Facebook Connect was announced back in May and has just recently begun to see the light of day. Since the announcement, the obligatory privacy concerns have been raised, but Facebook hoping to nip that in the bud has made it very clear that users can choose whether or not they wish to share information, a feature that was also available with the resurfacing of Beacon a while back.

Black Friday Online Sales Better Than Anticipated

After numerous online retailers predicted dismal sales on Black Friday, it looks like their nervousness may have been a bit premature.

Both eBay and Amazon saw consumer turnout higher than expected, most of which was searching for electronics of course. Reuters is reporting that the most searched for product on eBay was the Nintendo Wii, which 3,171 were sold on the site.

More Microsoft Yahoo Gossip
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It seems that people really want Yahoo and Microsoft to get a deal done. Almost every other day it seems, rumors surface and are just as quickly shot down regarding the two companies and a possible transaction that could put a thorn in Google’s side.

More On Dynamic Themes In Windows Live Wave 3
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Recently the Windows Live Spaces team gave a pretty decent write up of the upcoming Windows Live Profile. Sure, it may not be the most exciting news, but it gives you some insight on the upcoming dynamic themes for Windows Live. Here’s what they had to say about it…

Yahoo’s the BOSS of Vertical Lens Technology
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Today, Yahoo has announced a new Yahoo Search BOSS capability called vertical lens technology, which enables partners (often with no search expertise) to create a comprehensive vertical search engine that compliments their core user experience.

For example, TechCrunch has launched a technology-flavored search engine as Yahoo cites as its first example. This search engine allows TechCrunch users to search for technology-focused articles and company info across TechCrunch’s network as well as the web, a Yahoo representative tells WebProNews.

Google Answers Some Tricky Questions
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Recently, during a live chat Q&A, Googlers Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye, among others, faced the burning questions of webmasters around the world. Together, they put to rest some fears and myths, and confirmed some speculations.
Google Answers Some Tricky Questions

Tips for Optimizing Your AdSense
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Google has kicked off a series of videos for AdSense tips at the Inside AdSense blog. This is an effort to help publishers get the most out of their AdSense accounts. After all, the better publishers make out from the program, the better the program will continue to perform for Google right?

Should You Stop Blogging?
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Wired has posted an already-controversial article about how blogs are "so 2004", and how services like Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr even are here to replace them. Writer Paul Boutin says:

Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.

Congress To Make eBay A Rat
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Taken together, three bills in Congress would require online marketplaces and auction sites to secretly police affiliates suspected of selling stolen goods. In addition to requiring extensive record keeping on sellers using the site and turning over that information to authorities upon request, the legislation prohibits resale sites—like eBay or craigslist—from informing suspected sellers they are being investigated.

New Paid Links Service Sparks More Debate
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InLinksQuite a storm of debate has erupted over a new service called InLinks – essentially a paid text link service that allegedly makes it hard for Google (and other search engines) to detect them. And mouths of  Internet marketers begin to salivate.

Will Personal Search Turn SEO On Its Ear?
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At PubCon, Bruce Clay, Inc. President Bruce Clay presented at a session entitled "Top-Shelf Organic SEO" in which he discussed the approaching future of SEO as search engines evolve into more modern ranking methods through more personalized search results. Bruce was good enough to take the time to speak with our own Michael McDonald in a one-on-one interview about personal search, which can be viewed in the video below.

Is Bounce Rate a Google Ranking Factor?
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Bounce rates are a metric that may become more of a factor as SEOs struggle with the ever-changing world of SERPs, which some are predicting to be become much more personalized over the coming year. As discussed in an interview with Mike McDonald (video below), big name SEO Bruce Clay notes that going forward, SEOs are going to have to look at analytics, measure traffic, bounce rates, action, etc., and ask themselves questions like did I get the conversion I was after?

Big Company Exploiting Twitter?
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Twitter can be gamed too? Who would have thought? If there is a way to get promotion from a popular social site, you know that it will be taken advantage of. It just becomes a matter of competition at some point, perhaps even with people being paid to help with that promotion (right Diggers?).

Scandal Puts A Hurtin’ On Baidu
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BaiduYou may have heard that China’s number one search engine Baidu has been the subject of some scandalous accusations lately. As a result, stock has plummeted, and so have advertising revenues for the company.

A Little Background

Amazon Closing Alexa Web Search
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Amazon has been pretty busy this Thanksgiving break, not only are they dealing with the hoards of online shoppers they’re also quietly shutting down one of their web services… Alexa Web Search.

BT In Trouble Over Secret Behavioral Ad Tests
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Did BT illegally test a new online advertising system on their customers without consent? That’s currently what British prosecutors are trying to determine.

Top Five Blackberry Storm Reviews
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The new BlackBerry storm mobile device hit store shelves on Friday and sold over 100,000 units over the weekend according to InformationWeek. Not all of us are so eager to plop down our hard earned money without getting to know a device a little better though. Thankfully, there are plenty of people to review it and give us walkthroughs of the device’s capabilities, five of which are the subjects of this article.

Google Launches Google Analytics Forums
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Google PagesAnyone whose used the Help Center over at Google knows that it leaves something to be desired in regards to Google Analytics, and other topics. Sure, you seem to always find something related, but not quite enough to help you out.

Cyber Monday Tips from the Google AdWords Crew
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And Cyber Monday edges closer still. We’re at about five days now. Of course, we’ve still got Black Friday to deal with and last year shoppers spent around $531 Million online just on that day. Follow Amazon’s example and get ready for that.

FCC Could Lose Broadcast Censorship Authority
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The current FCC is using its numbered days to petition the Supreme Court to uphold its authority over fleeting material in broadcast programming. If Chairman Kevin Martin & Co. fail to get a sympathetic ear from the highest court, the fat lady could be singing one foul tune as failed regulators exit stage right, and that might be a good thing.