Search Trends in the Recession: Porn Wins Big!

'porn' wins as Americans get lazy and horny during the recession
'porn' wins as Americans get lazy and horny during the recession

Wow. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. Times are tough. We are in the midst of a recession. And it looks like when times are tough, people get lazier and hornier. The Google Trends graph above is filtered for search volume in the United States from 2004-2009, so don’t tell me that some other countries are skewing the data. Again, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked, but seriously? Really? I know, I know. Unemployment is way up, so a lot more people are sitting at home being lazy and bored. Hence, the porn searches. Gosh. Are humans that predictable?

I was also surprised to see a decreasing trend in ‘sports’ searches. I find myself watching more sporting events than ever this year. I guess I’m unique. Yeah right. ‘God’ searches are nice and steady. I’m glad to see people are still into God. ‘Politics’ is also kind of static.  I guess that’s no shocker. Finally, it should be no surprise that ‘coupons’ searches are way up (beginning in late-2008). I like coupons. You should like coupons, too.

Oh well, that is all. This filler post has been brought to you by the hectic holiday season.

Matt Cutts: Google Using DMOZ Info to Create ‘Better’ Title Tags in SERPs

Wow. Around 2:14 of this video, Matt Cutts says Google “can sometimes use the Open Directory Project snippets” when populating snippets for URLs displayed in the SERPs. He then goes on to talk about how Google can also use that information to create a “better” title for URLs in the SERPs:

…Webmasters are probably not as used to the idea that we’re willing to find a better title as well. So if you have a bad title or a title that we don’t think helps users as much, we can try to find a better title – and one that we think will be an informative result, so that users will know whether that’s a good result for them to click on.

So I just wanted to give people a heads-up about that because they’re used to the things below the title changing, but they’re maybe not as used to the idea that the title itself can change in our search results as well.

Thanks for this video, Matt. The last part is fascinating. We saw that Bing was doing something like this back in early June.

One question: Is Google going to do my title tag SEO for me now? That would sure save me some time. 😉 I’m sure if I was Boser or Graywolf, I would have a big problem with this. I kinda do, but I’m too busy to write much more. I guess I’d really care if a page with no title tag could outrank my page after Google created a “better” title tag for that page. That would be upsetting. But I am confident in my SEO abilities. Now where was I?

BTW, Yahoo is doing the same thing.

Zombie URLs? 7 Geocities Pages That Are Still Alive!

I don’t know what’s going on here, but these 7 URLs from are still alive. Zombie URLs!!! I feel like I’m in I Am Legend or 28 Weeks Later, and I just found the other survivors. At any rate, these zombie URLs are probably hungry for brains. Maybe it was a glitch that was just in time for Halloween. I dunno. But I’ve gotta give it up to these URLs for surviving Yahoo’s mass extinction event last Monday. It’s evolution in action – on the interwebs!

I know that Yahoo was giving Geocities users the opportunity to get their Geocities URLs redirected to a custom domain (btw, a domain that you could purchase from Yahoo and then host with a Yahoo webhosting account). Those 7 URLs are not being redirected. They actually return 200 OK in the header response.

Just so we have something to compare those zombie Geocities URLs to, here are a few Geocities URLs that have been redirected via 301 redirects. Could it be that Yahoo is learning some SEO? Welcome to the new millennium.

So there you go? Can anyone explain why these URLs are still alive? Could they belong to Yahoo employees? Hmmm…

Geocities URLs Now Returning ‘410 Gone’ in Header Response

Sorry, Geocities Has Closed.
Sorry, Geocities Has Closed.

I was wondering what Yahoo would do with the millions of Geocities URLs out there. I thought they might use a 301 redirect for all URLs, but where would they redirect them? I mean, Yahoo is a PR9. They could use the link love. 😉 Also, Yahoo needs money. They should have sold the Geocities redirect. I wonder if anyone would have bid on that. Just imagine: You could buy the link authority of the entire Geocities domain. Of course it would be really easy for Google to discount those links, but it would still be interesting to see if someone would have purchased that redirect opportunity.

And don’t forget that even if the links had been discounted, the amount of traffic you would get from that redirect would be huge. I’m thinking affiliates would have bid pretty high for the Geocities redirect. I can see it now: all Geocities traffic is sent to a landing page with 5 banners – Porn, Viagra, Phentermine, Cash Loans & Debt Relief, and Dating. And then another Porn banner just in case someone missed the first one.

After checking some of the Geocities URLs, I have only seen ‘410 Gone’ in the header response. A ‘410 Gone’ response is harsh. It feels so final. Like an annulment. The relationship is over. The URL is gone forever. The ‘410 Gone’ makes a typical 404 sound more like a “maybe-we’ll-work-out-sometime-in-the-future-but-not-now” response. The 410 does not waffle. It’s not Brett Favre. The 410 Gone response is definitive. Game over.

I miss you Geocities.

Saying Goodbye: Yahoo Shuts Down Geocities Today

Oct. 26, 2009: Yahoo Shuts Down Geocities
Oct. 26, 2009: Yahoo Shuts Down Geocities

Well, today is the day that the music died. Yahoo is shutting down Geocities. 2009 is turning out to be a big year for Yahoo. There was the announcement that Geocities would close. Then there was the Yahoo/MSN merger, where Yahoo announced that MSN would provide the natural search results for Yahoo at some point in the near future. Then Yahoo announced they were going to discontinue the Yahoo Paid Inclusion Program (Yahoo SSP). And today is the day that Yahoo will official shut down Geocities. It honestly feels like a piece of my childhood is dying. My first website was on Geocities. Awwwww….how cute.

In January of 1999, Yahoo purchased Geocities for $3.57 billion in stock. They spent $3.57 billion for an asset, and now it’s closing 10 years later. Sheesh. Do you think they made their money back? Ugh. What a downer.

BTW, anyone have any idea how DMOZ is going to react to this news? They are going to have a tough time removing/redirecting all those Geocities listings in the DMOZ directory.

Fail: Google Indexes Google Voice Messages

Fail: Google Indexes Google Voice Messages
Fail: Google Indexes Google Voice Messages

Today in Fail News: Google has a service called Google Voice. You can get a phone number and everything! It’s like having another phone. And people can leave messages. And today, Engadget reports that Google is indexing the voicemail of some Google Voice users. You can listen to some of the messages and even see the transcript of the message, who it was from, what time it was left, etc… Oops. Click here to see Google Voice messages indexed on!

Here are two of my favorites: Message #1, Message #2

Saying Goodbye to the Yahoo Paid Inclusion Program, Yahoo SSP

Walter Sobchak says Goodbye to Yahoo Paid Inclusion
Walter Sobchak says Goodbye to Yahoo Paid Inclusion

Apparently, Yahoo’s Paid Inclusion program is being discontinued as of December 31, 2009. It’s the last paid inclusion program of its kind (or at least it’s the last big one to be discontinued). Often blurring the line between paid search marketing and SEO, Yahoo’s paid inclusion program has become a significant source of organic search revenue for websites all over the world. Because of that, we thought it would be fitting to have Walter Sobchak hold a memorial.

"Good night, sweet prince." - Walter Sobchak
"Good night, sweet prince." - Walter Sobchak

Every time he says Donny, just think Yahoo Paid Inclusion Program or Yahoo SSP:

Donny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors… and bowling, and as a surfer he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and… up to… Pismo. He died, like so many young men of his generation, he died before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. And so would Donny. Donny, who loved bowling. And so, Theodore Donald Karabotsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.

So maybe it wasn’t a great memorial, but it was certainly a memorial. We’ll miss you, Yahoo Paid Inclusion. We’ll miss you dearly.

Yahoo Paid Inclusion, Search Submit Pro (SSP) Discontinued Effective Dec. 31, 2009

I just got word that Yahoo’s paid inclusion program Search Submit Pro (aka Yahoo SSP) is being discontinued effective December 31, 2009. Everyone has been wondering if Yahoo and Bing would keep Paid Inclusion (Search Submit Pro) up and running after the Yahoo/MSN deal. But it looks like now the verdict is in. Paid Inclusion and Yahoo SSP will be discontinued. Bro hymn for Yahoo SSP. You were a great soldier in the new millennium, and you were the last Paid Inclusion program to fall. Damn.

The impact of this decision will obviously have massive implications in the world of search. There are a lot of websites out there that rely on Yahoo SSP as a source of traffic, revenue and brand exposure. And there are also a ton of marketers who rely on Yahoo Search Submit Pro as a search marketing tool for their clients. Furthermore, Yahoo SSP may not be a huge revenue stream for Yahoo (maybe it’s $100M per year?), but I am still very surprised by the decision to discontinue the program. After all, it’s an effective program that drives millions of dollars every year. Maybe they had to discontinue Yahoo SSP in order to get the Yahoo/MSN deal completed. I’m sure more official blogs/sources will have more official details very soon.

So long, Yahoo SSP. You were a dear friend to the interwebs, and we’ll miss you dearly.

Update 1 (10/14/2009): I wish I could give you a source or a link or something, but I can provide nothing to confirm this post. But believe me, Yahoo’s paid inclusion program is about to go bye-bye. Today I’ve seen people tweeting about it, so I’m sure the details will emerge soon enough. But for now, my lack of proof makes this seem like a rumor. Take it or leave it. I’ll post links once the official story breaks.

Update 2 (10/15/2009): It appears David Lewis got the call from Yahoo, too.

Update 3 (10/16/2009): Barry Schwartz has an official post about Yahoo Paid Inclusion being discontinued. Jump over to to see it.

Get a Custom Facebook URL with Only 25 Fans!

Hey everyone. I’m a couple of weeks late on this one, but it seems that Facebook has changed their rules regarding custom URLs for fan pages. When the custom URL feature was first announced, in order to get a custom username and URL you had to have at least 1,000 fans Then about a month later, the requirement dropped to 100 fans.  But if you want a custom username URL for your Facebook fan page, now all you need is 25 fans! How about that?!?!?!

You can find the proof here, but I’ll save you the click:

I tried to secure a name for my Page but Facebook said the Page was not eligible. What are the requirements?
Your Facebook Page must meet two requirements: it must have been live …
Your Facebook Page must meet two requirements: it must have been live on Facebook prior to the May 31, 2009 cut-off date and have had a minimum 1,000 fans at that time.

This limitation is temporary. All Pages created after May 31, 2009 or that had less than 1,000 fans on that day will be eligible to claim usernames on Sunday, June 28, 2009 if they have more than 25 fans.

So there. Go forth and get your Facebook username and custom URL!