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June 26, 2009

Friday Recap: Robo Edition

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Welcome to your favorite part of the week — the weekend! Or is your favorite part the Friday Recap? After the week you had, you deserve them both, so let’s get this thing started!

The second Transformers movie was released Wednesday and the harsh reviews are getting almost as much buzz as the movie itself. Susan contends that there weren’t enough giant robots in the original. Let’s see if the sequel brings on the robots, because you dig giant robots. I dig giant robots. We dig giant robots. Chicks dig giant robots. Nice. [True story: This clip was actual facts my review of the first movie. –Susan]

Big news in the blogosphere this week. The FTC is moving forward to approve new guidelines regarding bloggers, sponsored blog reviews and the disclosure of blogger compensation. The guidelines take aim at the freebies and payoffs some bloggers receive in exchange for product reviews or mentions — a conflict of interest which often remains undisclosed to blog readers. If the guidelines are passed, bloggers would be required to spell out any financial compensation received. Those interested may read the FTC’s proposed guidelines and changes in Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (pdf).

Some SEOs will be glad to see the new guidelines instituted considering a debate has long raged over the search engines’ uneven enforcement of paid link penalties. The argument’s been made that while some bloggers reap benefits of free cars and swag in exchange for links or product reviews, SEOs get slapped for omitting nofollow on paid links. Power tweeter Guy Kawasaki is sometimes used an example of a blogger fat on freebies, but earlier this week, Guy’s Twitter account was hacked, reminding tweeters that no one’s safe from malicious attacks online.

Lately Twitter has been greenwashed with vert-colored avatars intended to support democracy in Iran. Some have called such actions “armchair activism“, and while I believe raising awareness is valuable, the Next Web has rounded up some other ways people can positively contribute to the cause.

Facebook became a little more like Twitter this week by opening user status updates to the public realm. Beta testers are currently trying out the program, which will let users specify whether select groups of friends or the entire Web will be able to view status info. Facebook users will appreciate the new option for flexibility, but everyone can enjoy the flexibility of these three ladies who make contortion look like a flippin’ good time. [Why don’t they make movies like that anymore? –Susan]

in the cloud
creative commons attribution Photo by Ewen and Donabel

Steering back to the topic of blogs, I got a kick out of a collection of word clouds from a few popular Internet marketing blogs. I’ve used Wordle to make word clouds for some of my favorite search engine optimization blogs, but I’ve never looked at the clouds side by side. I think it’s useful to see if you’re actually talking about the content you think you’re talking about. So who wins the exercise? My vote goes to David Mihm, whose word cloud shows just how topical the blog is to his core interest, local search.

Another favorite search-related blogger is Google’s head of Web spam Matt Cutts. But Matt doesn’t talk only about search and SEO on his blog. In fact, this week he’s inviting readers to vote for his next 30-day project. “Bike to work” is currently in first with 25 percent of the vote. Want to chime in on what Matt should do?

The Semantic Technology Conference was held in San Jose last week and there’s since been some helpful analysis offered up by attendees. While I hear a lot about how semantic technology will improve the quality of Web search, I’ll admit that I’m still fuzzy on how such technology actually works. Dr. Riza Berkan, CEO of the natural language processing search engine Hakia, wrote a great primer on semantic search by clearing up what semantic technology is not. Sean Golliher, founder and publisher of SEMJ.org, explained the benefit of structured markup and its effect on search and the developer community.

robot
creative commons attribution Photo by atp_tyreseus

I think we can all agree that some very sharp minds are working on the problems of semantic technology. And robots. Smart people make robots, like one robot intelligence researcher and professor who built his twin to stand in and speak for him in class.

Speaking of freaky plastic people, how does everyone feel about the Burger King ads? BK’s stream of odd ads has received awards for being edgy and creative, but apparently edgy and creative doesn’t sell burgers. In the five years since ad agency Crispin Porter Bogusky has been in charge, Burger King’s market share fell and annual sales grew at a pace slower than that of competitor McDonald’s. Why people don’t find a plastic-faced meat hawker appetizing I may never understand.

Rest in peace, Ed, Farrah and Michael.

Things I learned from Boing Boing this week:

  • I know some people must think my choice of pet is a little odd, but one man’s pet capybara helped me put things is perspective. [Come Lent, he’ll also have an alternative to fish on Fridays. (No, really, look it up.) –Susan]
  • Humans seem to have a preference for listening with the right ear. No joke. It’s just weird.
  • Virgin America and Google teamed up for Wednesday’s Day in the Clouds competition. Find out how sky-high smarties played the game.
  • What do you call a starfish having sex with a shrimp on tape? A prawnstar! Sorry, China, but you won’t remember tomorrow anyway.
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One response to “Friday Recap: Robo Edition”

  1. Steve from AcquireCom writes:

    This is my first time reading your blog–I love it. Great links and a lot of funny comments. Nice work!

    The “Chicks dig giant robots” clip is priceless.

    Thanks for the recap. Have a great weekend!



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