The SEP Search Report

by Ruud Hein June 24th, 2011 

This week:

Hundreds Of New Domain Extensions In 2012

icannICANN is taking the final steps in its 5 year plan to expand the number of domain extension (think .org, .com, .net, etc) from 22 to almost limitless. Given enough interest, domains could end in almost any word in any language.

Opponents say the plan tries to solve a non-existing problem. Others expect similar domain squatting kind of situations as we've seen with the more traditional domain name extensions.

For branding the move could become costly. At the moment it's common practice to secure a company's web presence by buying the .org, .net, and .com versions of the web address, perhaps enriched with country-specific domain extensions.

The possibilities for reputation management may be near endless. It's not uncommon to handle certain cases through tens, sometimes hundreds, of dedicated domains. The traditional spaces are often saturated with sought-after terms but with these catchy extensions coming up a whole new playfield is being prepared.

SEO practitioners can prepare for reduced emphasis on direct match domain naming. That situation is somewhat of a thorn in the sides of search engines as it would be a really nice signal to use and trust; the upcoming onslaught of domain extensions

SEO clients are advised to buy prime .com, .org, and .net domain estate. Dot com is the branding space of the web, far ahead of anything else.

Attempts to introduce new domain name extensions such as .info have shown the public is initially wary, if not fully in the unknown, while the subsequent mass buying of domain names by spammers and scammers in turn validates and strengthens the public's wariness. It has led Google to more than once more or less "dump" all .info from its results.

Facebook To Overtake Yahoo In US Ad Share

facebook-yahooIf things continue to go the way Emarketer Inc. sees them going, then by the end of this year Facebook will hold 17.7% of the US online display advertising market, leaving Yahoo with its then 13.3% far behind.

While that may be true the real advertisement player remains Google. It manages to squeeze out much better money through much better performance simply because it can customize ads anywhere on the web to anyone based on what they searched for, now or in the past. Facebook on the other hand plays only within its own walls and then only with information entered by its users as they create their profiles.

In the mobile ad space too, Google is now and is expected to remain the Goliath. Google's mobile advertising is projected to grow 41% per year, with revenue going from $1.8 billion in 2011 to $10 billion in 2016.

There is no need to consider moving away your PPC budget to Facebook. Facebook is a good stack in the deck, a great supporting channel, depending on who you want to reach for what.

Google Reaches 1 Billion People In The World

google-largest-site-world

Quarterly comScore data sees Google inching past the 1 billion unique users per month, truly becoming the universal interface to the World Wide Web. See also "Facebook To Overtake Yahoo In US Ad Share", above, to draw your own conclusions.

1st Country In Europe To Set Net Neutrality Laws

net-neutrality

The Netherlands is to become the world's 2nd nation, and Europe's 1st, to make net neutrality a law.

Such a law will forbid Internet providers from blocking certain Internet services and site, charging extra for them or slowing their delivery.

The decision sets the stage and tone for the European debate on net neutrality.

For the Internet to remain a free market place, net neutrality is essential, just like unhindered access is to the regular free markets.

In notably the USA the decision making process is one between giant corporations such as Google, Verizon, and Bell, instead of a governmental/society one. In August 2010 Google and Verizon made an initial agreement outside of the ongoing debate. The agreement essentially gave Verizon free hand in starting tiered mobile Internet access where the use of certain services may be blocked, slowed down, or made to incur extra charges.

While somewhat out of the direct day-to-day reach of most business owners, net neutrality is one of the most important bottom-line impacting factors in coming years, alike only to an Internet tax, only this time levied by corporations and at somewhat random will.

Europe Takes First Privacy Protection Steps: Requires Consumer Cookie Consent

euA European Union directive passed in 2010 requires online advertisers to get "informed consent" from users before placing a cookie on the user's system. The law is meant to protect the privacy of consumers who are targeted by behavioral advertising.

The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to define, in law, that "informed consent" means that third-party cookie providers (advertisers) have to get explicit consent to place cookies on a consumer's machine.

While some advertising companies have threatened to take their business elsewhere, European officials have indicated not to challenge the Dutch law. This sends a strong signal that the law passed is in the spirit of what the European Union wants. With other countries bound to follow their won't be much (market) place to hide.

If implemented as-is then it's likely that a sort of "accept all" button solution would arise, either from the industry or through software providers. In the past consumers have shown to be very hesitant in per-cookie management: some page visits can result in 20-50 cookies.

FTC, US Government & 3 US State In Antitrust Actions Against Google

google-dont-be-evilThe US states New York, California, and Ohio are in the early stages of an antitrust investigation against Google while an ongoing senate antitrust investigation shows signs of becoming more formal. Meanwhile the US Federal Trace Commission is poised to step in with its own antitrust investigation.

In May Google has already set aside $500 million to deal with a Justice Department investigation.

Anti-trust investigations start with a general review of the situation, often by a committee. The committee often talks with industry experts and invites members of the parties involved to ask questions.

A more formal stage in the investigation is reached when involved members are no longer informally invited but are subpoenaed to appear; the law obliges them.

The antitrust investigations in New York, California, and Ohio are all at the preliminary stage. People are reading what the complaints are exactly. They're researching the fields involved and are trying to figure out if there is any merit to the case at all.

A US senate antitrust subcommittee investigating Google's power in the market has repeatedly asked Google to make either Chief Executive Officer Larry Page or Chairman Eric Schmidt available for questioning.  Google has declined and wants to send its Chief Legal Officer instead. Such a refusal is not uncommon if a formal government investigation is expected.

Google's refusal triggers an announced step wherein Larry Page and Eric Schmidt might be subpoenaed before the senate committee; this step does require approval by the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

The US Federal Trade Commission is preparing to serve Google with civil subpoenas within days. This means that the preliminary stage has found enough grounds to move into the second stage: a formal investigation. The investigation doesn't have to lead to charges but it is widely expected not to end with nothing happening at al.

None of these investigations have an immediate impact on business relying on Google. They do show the need to diversify your content strategy; don't rely on one source.

Question: what else did you spot this week that's important? Leave a comment by clicking here.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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2 Responses to “The SEP Search Report”

  1. "Such a law will forbid Internet providers from blocking certain Internet services and site, charging extra for them or slowing their delivery."

    I am really happy to hear that some countries have started passing the Net Neutrality Laws. Hopefully they set the tone, and the United States and Canada won't be far behind!

    • Ruud Hein says:

      I'm right there hoping with you, Ryan.

      The issue is easy to make confusing while phrases like "metered access" just seem to make common sense: seems only fair ISP's should/could charge more for certain things. Of course, in fact, we're talking about limited, restricted web access the default. Scary stuff.