Google, Paid Links, and the FTC Staff Letter On WOM

On April 14th, Matt Cutts wrote about hidden links on his blog, and he also discussed a best practice to disclose paid links towards the end of his post:

The other best practice I’d advise is to provide human readable disclosure that a link/review/article is paid. You could put a badge on your site to disclose that some links, posts, or reviews are paid, but including the disclosure on a per-post level would better. Even something as simple as “This is a paid review” fulfills the human-readable aspect of disclosing a paid article. Google’s quality guidelines are more concerned with the machine-readable aspect of disclosing paid links/posts, but the Federal Trade Commission has said that human-readable disclosure is important too:

The link Matt included in that paragraph points to a December 12, 2006, Washington Post article titled FTC Moves to Unmask Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Endorser Must Disclose Link to Seller.

The word “Link” in that title is a little misfortunate in that it isn’t talking about hyperlinks but rather relationships of one type or another. Unfortunately, the Washington Post article didn’t link to the FTC Opinion letter that they wrote about, but after searching around, I do believe that I was able to find a copy of the Commercial Alert FTC Staff Opinion Letter.

Continue reading “Google, Paid Links, and the FTC Staff Letter On WOM”

Integrating Online and Offline Shopping: Buying at the Babies “R” Us

Ecommerce has come a long way, especially when stores let you browse online, and then make your offline shopping easier. My latest shopping experience merging the online and offline world came pretty close to being a very good one, but had some usability problems.

Unfamiliar Turf

I was pretty much out of my comfort zone when it came this shopping mission. I can navigate pretty well around sporting goods, hardware and car repair items, books, and groceries. But surround me with cribs and strollers, diapers and pacifiers, and I have no sense of the intuitive layout of the Big Box store I found myself in last week.

I browsed the Babies”R”Us web site, and used the baby registry card I had received with an invitation for my Niece’s baby shower to find her gift registry. It was a good idea to include a Babies “R” Us card with the invitation, and made it easy for me to find the right part of the website, and the registry.

There were a few things listed in the registry that were only available in one of the stores, so I decided to visit in person since there is a Babies “R” Us nearby.

Continue reading “Integrating Online and Offline Shopping: Buying at the Babies “R” Us”

Google Sourcers’ Training Video

added – 2007/5/13 – It appears that Google decided to remove this video. I’ve searched around, but can’t find it on Google videos anymore. Sorry.

On April 11th, 2007, a presentation was held at Google for people who work to find candidate employees for Google.

Sourcer Rules of Engagement (video), covers processes that a sourcer for Google might follow when contacting leads, and when those leads become candidates for jobs.

There are some interesting looks at their Applicant Tracking System (ATS). It’s kind of interesting to get this view of the hiring process that Google uses.

A couple of other looks at Google’s hiring process:

Continue reading “Google Sourcers’ Training Video”

Google’s Marratech Software Acquisition and Patent Filings

On Thursday, Google announced that they had acquired Marratech AB’s video conferencing software. The software allows for desktop participation in videoconference meetings wherever there’s an Internet connection.

I took a quick look at some of the patent applications that are assigned to Marratech to see what some of the technical aspects behind the software acquired might be. It’s hard to tell if all of these patent applications are involved in the transaction, or just some of them. Google didn’t buy the company, just its software. (Andy Beal has a nice overview of the software.)

Here’s a little about some of the patent applications that are assigned to Marratech AB:

These two involve distributing media files between client computers and servers while the files go through a firewall.

Continue reading “Google’s Marratech Software Acquisition and Patent Filings”

My Diminishing Magazine Reading Habit Meme

I used to read a lot of magazines. I don’t read as many anymore, and it’s probably because of sites like Google News, Digg, Metafilter, Cre8asite Forums, and bloglines.

I’ve been wondering why, and one of the reasons may be that I can stop in the middle of a paragraph, open a new window, and find out more about something I’ve come across in an article online. I can’t do that with an ink and paper page.

I also can’t ask the author a question, look up other things that they’ve written, leave a comment, read comments from others who have read the article, and cut and paste what I’ve read into a text editor and quote it in something I’m writing.

I was tagged by Barry Welford in a blog meme that is going around, to share which magazines that I read. A couple of years ago, that would have been pretty easy. Now, it isn’t. I’m down to a handful.

Continue reading “My Diminishing Magazine Reading Habit Meme”

Google’s Web History Patent Applications

Danny Sullivan has a detailed post at Search Engine Land about Google’s move today to provide their users with search history about activities that they have performed on the Web, and not just while searching Google, in Google Search History Expands, Becomes Web History.

Google came out with 6 patent applications in October, which I wrote about in Google Personalization Methods.

In that post, I described how the information collected from a person’s travels around the Web might be used to influence search result rankings. Here are links to those patent applications, if you want to take a closer look at them: