Michael Jackson Death Sets Search Records on Yahoo

Yahoo’s Corporate Blog announced today that the passing of Michael Jackson led to some new records for Yahoo search (source). Without further ado, here are the main highlights of that post:

  • Yahoo’s front page story ‘Michael Jackson rushed to hospital” received 800,000 clicks within 10 minutes.
  • Yahoo’s news of his death received 560,000 clicks within 10 minutes.
  • The News area on the Yahoo homepage received 5 times the normal amount of traffic it usually gets
  • Yahoo News set a record with 16.4 million unique visitors (breaking the previous record of 15.1 million unique visitors on Election Day 2008)
  • 4 million people visited Yahoo between the hours of 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
  • Yahoo recorded 175 million page views for the day June 25th (placing 4th highest on the all-time behind Inauguration Day 2009, the day after Inauguration Day 2009, and Hurricane Ike)
  • In Yahoo Music, 21,000 people left comments on a blog post about Michael Jackson
  • On Flickr, 4,000 Michael Jackson-related pictures were uploaded

Also, according to Mashable.com, Michael Jackson’s death had a global impact on social media, specifically Twitter (source):

  • In total, at least 30% of Tweets are remarking upon the star’s tragic passing, and that’s likely an underestimate.
  • 22.61% of Tweets currently contain the phrase “Michael Jackson”.
  • 22.61% of Tweets currently contain the phrase “Michael Jackson”.
  • “MJ”, meanwhile, accounts for 9% of Tweets right now.

Granted, Michael Jackson was likely the most famous person in the world, but this event shows you the power of the internet and social media in regards to breaking news.

Getting to Second Base with Omniture…Not So Fast!

Waiting on Omniture: Your Report is Being Generated
Waiting on Omniture: Your Report is Being Generated

I don’t know about you, but I have to use Omniture on a daily basis. I hate waiting for these reports. Yeah, I’ve got a ton of them scheduled for delivery via ftp and email. But it’s the one-off reports that really get on my nerves. And don’t even try to login in the afternoon. By then, the entire West Coast is also trying to download Omniture reports.

Waiting on Omniture: Your report is loading...
Waiting on Omniture: Your report is loading...

The entire Omniture report process reminds me of dating in middle school. Wait. Who am I kidding? High school. There I was, 14 years old and making out with some girl for like 15 minutes. It was pretty clear that the next step was to make a move (getting to second base, right?). But you’re never sure when the right moment is. If you wait too long, you’re a loser. If you move to fast, you’re in trouble. But we all know what the end result will be: boobage. It’s a waiting game for the sake of waiting. Kind of like waiting for Omniture reports to generate. Well, maybe not. But what can I do here? When I’m waiting for like 45 seconds, my mind starts racing. And this is what you get – a post about my lack of success with girls when I was 14 and how it sucks waiting for stuff. I am Tyler’s lack of patience.

On a side note: I’m not certain of the current baseball setup/analogy for today’s youth. It seems like they have reassigned the bases. I think they might skip first base these days. I don’t know. I just have to hear my aunts and uncles bitch about my cousins who are in high school. Sexting? WTF? I’m old.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Admits to Wanting Do-Over on Search

There is an awesome post over at TG Daily (link). At the Executives Club Chicago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked a question that had everyone on the edge of their seats: “If you could have one do-over, what would it be?”

I would probably say I would start sooner on search,” Ballmer stated to the crowd. Ballmer stressed that the company knew of search the research and effort had been put in, they weren’t sure of the market and that they had no business model. It just wasn’t there. The company lacked in an application for their findings.

Wow. I’m amazed at his honesty. However, I completely agree. I also like how he referred to Bing.com as “the little engine that could.” FYI: Microsoft is marketing Bing.com as a decision engine, not a search engine.

Like a Fat Kid Playing Halfback in Soccer, Bing.com Tries Really Hard to Keep Up

Tom Smykowski: It's a Jump To Conclusions Mat
Tom Smykowski: It's a Jump To Conclusions Mat

Bing.com, the new search engine from Microsoft, launched last week. And at the end of the week everybody was jumping to conclusions about Bing overtaking Yahoo as the #2 ranked search engine in the world. And that would have been pretty cool. I guess. Everyone in the SEO world would love to see Microsoft have a great product. And maybe it would have been cool if just for one week, Bing.com could have jumped over Yahoo. It would have proven that you can throw out a new product and a lot of marketing and have a tremendous opening. But alas, Danny Sullivan is reporting that it wasn’t a Cinderella story after all.

Like many other search marketers, I was waiting for Nielson, comScore, Compete and Hitwise to weigh in with Bing vs. Yahoo data. Please check out Danny’s post at searchengineland.com for more detail. But here’s the message:

What these data collectively show — and we’ll update if/when we get more — is that Bing has received a potentially significant traffic bump compared to Live Search/MSN since launch and rollout of the marketing campaign on TV and online. However Bing has (so far) not surpassed Yahoo for the number two spot.

Well, good luck, Bing! And on a side note, maybe you could answer the claim that Bing.com is switching title tags with search queries to increase clickthru (here). I mean, that would be crazy. Replacing the title tag from a page with the exact search query – only to increase clickthru? Well, that is definitely grey area. It makes me kinda happy in a way, but my clients are not going to like it. Just sayin’ is all…

Also, remember that scene from Groundhog Day, where Ned Ryerson yells “Bing!” about 100 times in 60 seconds? Why isn’t Microsoft using that video as the official marketing video for Bing.com? It could have gone viral. Just ask Rand. He’d agree. Well, probably not. But I seriously would not be surprised if this scene from Groundhog Day did not play a role in naming the new Microsoft search engine. I mean, everyone loves Ned Ryerson. Why not use his quote as the name for a search engine? Check out the video and see for yourself:

Google Wave: The Future of Real-Time Internets & Web Communication

Google Wave Logo
Google Wave Logo

Holy radio waves, Batman! The folks over at Google Wave made a huge splash yesterday. Led by Lars Rasmussen, Jens Rasmussen and Stephanie Hannon, Google Wave is a real-time collection of chat, IM, and other real-time apps, and it’s quickly moving to integrate with Google Docs and Gmail. As for the nerdy details, Google Wave is built on the Google Web Toolkit, using HTML 5, and it is interoperable. Furthermore, Google plans to launch the Wave code as open source. Here’s a screenshot released by the Google Wave Dev Team:

Google Wave Combines Chat, IM, Friendfeed, Docs, Pictures, etc...
Google Wave Combines Chat, IM, Friendfeed, Docs, Pictures, etc...

Fun fact: Lars and Jens are brothers from Denmark. They founded Where2, a mapping company that was acquired by Google and is now known as Google Maps. From the way that Lars and Jens describe Google Wave, it’s almost like they are discussing the email of the future. It totally reminds me of those kitchens from the 1950’s, where they would advertise “The Kitchen of Tomorrow – Today!

I think if email was invented today, it would be like Google Wave. It’s like dragging email and chat into real time., so you can do both at the same time within the same tool. Both Yahoo and Google have tried to merge chat with their email services. And I think I have even seen the same thing in my Hotmail account. But matching chat and email has not been a seemless experience to date. Google Wave goes way beyond the current methods of shoe-horning chat into email platforms. Everything in Google Wave is real-time. From the look of it, Wave is more like Facebook in nature. There are pictures, links and docs, and everyone can comment on any given element.

I guess the big question is: Will Google Wave ultimately kill other Google products like Gmail, Google, Talk, Picasa, Google Docs, and Blogger? Also, will Google Wave kill Twitter, Friendfeed, IM, Chat, and other real-time apps or services?  The answer: probably not. I’m fairly certain that Google engineers could go after any service and effectively design a better wheel if they wanted to, but the factor that will make Google Wave so compelling is not it’s ability to destroy any current real-time services. Rather, the thing that makes the future capabilities Google Wave so intriguing is the fact that they are opening up the protocols from the beginning. [Note: In the long run, they plan to release a “lion share” of the source code, and they are going to open up a ton of the code early on.] Furthermore, if I know Google well enough, they are probably thinking more about integrating with other currently-popular services, like Twitter, rather than aiming to destroy them.

Google Wave Chat & Email
Google Wave Chat & Email

The Google Wave team has created a platform that can be taken and used by third parties. Unlike Twitter, data does not have to be stored on a Google server. Because of this, hundreds or thousands of third parties may create Wave systems, and just imagine the possibilities for apps and extensions! No matter where you create a Wave account, you should be able to communicate with other Wave users. Or if a team of developers wants to create and run a Wave server for private use within their company, that is possible to. The data will remain on their Wave server and never be seen outside of their corporate network. And to add to the excitement, Google Wave offers people the opportunity to collaborate on projects. Did I mention the open architecture and APIs? Wow. What didn’t they think of?

While everyone is still digesting the capabilities and possibilities of Google Wave, it’s clear that the concept has the chance to revolutionize the way we communicate on the web. Wave is a gigantic undertaking. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of popular internet services, and that is going to make it an interesting Google product to watch. Google expects to keep Wave limited to a developer preview product for several more months. I know they have invited people to sign up for updates. If you want a shot at early access, I suggest you sign up, too. You never know. You just might get lucky enough to have another internet-based social distraction. But that’s what we live for, right? 🙂

PS. How will Yahoo and MSN respond to this? What about Facebook, MySpace and Twitter? I’m definitely interested in their responses. Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, has made Google Wave one of the projects he is putting his time into. So unlike other Google products that whither and die due to lack of support, Google Wave has the support and attention of the co-founder of Google. Me thinks he won’t let this product fail. It’s too good of an idea. In the spirit of friendly competition, I hope Yahoo and MSN are working on something to compete with Google Wave. Good luck to all competitors. I think you’ll need it.

Here is the video of the 80-minute presentation from yesterday at Google I/O:

The Wolfram Alpha Search Engine, an Internet Revolution for the Next Generation

Wolfram Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine
Wolfram Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine

You may not know this, but Wolfram|Alpha is launching in May 2009. What is Wolfram|Alpha? For starters, it’s a new software that will give tailored answers to specific questions. In the grand scheme of things, WolframAlpha is predicted to revolutionize the internet and how we search for stuff.

From an SEO standpoint, the site already has a PageRank 7. When was the last time you saw a PR7 site that had not even launched? Yahoo is currently reporting 12,000+ backlinks. PR7 is pretty surprising until you realize that WolframApha.com has an awesome link distribution from many sites with PR6 and up. Also, if you go to StephanWolfram.com, you’ll notice his site has been live since 1995. It’s also a PR7. This guy doesn’t even need our links, and I’m definitely not the first one to report on this website. That’s for sure!

Dr. Stephan Wolfram of Wolfram Research
Dr. Stephan Wolfram of Wolfram Research

WolframAlpha was developed by US-based physicist, Stephen Wolfram and his company Wolfram Research. [Note: The Wolfram Research site looks like it is full of amazing stuff. To me, the company looks like it is straight out of LOST, the TV show. There is just something magical about the stuff on that site, and I really don’t know why I think that. Maybe I’m just enamored by physics and math.] WolframAlpha will only provide answers to questions that have factual answers. I suppose if you asked it “Why are we here?” – you might not get an answer. But if you asked it “How far is it from Earth to Mars?” – WolframAlpha will likely have an answer for you. And what’s even cooler is that for some questions, the engine will graphs and charts to provide visuals. For people who like pictures and graphs, it’s going to be awesome!

Furthermore, it sounds like these guys hate Wikipedia and all the mis-information on the Wikipedia site. With WolframAlpha, information is first looked over by a team of experts. The entire system is based on the Mathematica software, software that apparently holds the key to life, love and the universe. But I jest. Stephen Wolfram knows what he is doing. The guy has a PhD in Particle Physics! I’m not going to doubt him. But if he turns out to be Richard Alpert, Charles Widmore or Benjamin Linus, and his “team of experts” are the Others, well, I’m going to be pissed. Okay. I am finished with the LOST references.

For more on Wolfram|Alpha: