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August 1, 2006

Search Engine Bites

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Yahoo! Korea Develops Visual Link Map Tool
Last week the Yahoo Search blog announced a new tool called Webzari developed by the Yahoo Korea team. The tool uses the data Yahoo collects from its Yahoo Site Explorer to create an interactive solar system-based link map for a URL, complete with fun AJAX flavor.

Unfortunately, most of the text is in Korean but you can get the gist from this example using the SER domain. The yellow planets represent the links indexed by Yahoo! and the purple planets represent the sites linking to you. Mousing over the planets will give you more information about the links, and clicking on them will take you to the corresponding blog entry or page that links back to you. If a picture paints a thousand words, having a visual of your link neighborhood seems priceless. Right now it’s only available in Korean but hopefully we’ll see this gem fully adopted sometime soon*.

*Only because of how useful it is. Not because we like to watch the little rocket ships go whizzing by and or the little lollipop trees that appear when you click on the planets. That has nothing to do with it.

Google Cries “Bug” In Creepy Toolbar Issue
Yesterday we read Google was ignoring user choice and “defending” their precious toolbar against other search engines by installing a creepy silent-running executable file. The Google Operating System blog reported that the latest version of Google Toolbar for IE comes with a brand new feature called “Search With Google”. The goal of the new feature is to keep Google selected as your default search engine. Forever. No matter what Microsoft product you install.

Below is an explanation of the feature:

“GoogleToolbarNotifier is a companion to the Google Toolbar. This executable is necessary to enable the Search Settings Notifier feature of the Toolbar. This feature lets you keep Google as your default search engine and prevents this setting (and others as we add new features) from being changed without your consent… As long as this feature remains enabled, GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe will run silently in the background.”

The feature is real, but Google says the fact that it remains in memory after users attempt to disable it, as reported yesterday, is a bug they’re currently working to fix.

Important to note: Google’s Benjamin Lewis says even though the file remains in your memory, if you disable, it doesn’t actuallydo anything. It’s just sitting there. Hopefully Google will get that sorted out soon. Stuff like this freaks people out.

If you want to get rid of the file completely, users can delete the folder:

C:\Program Files\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier.

AdSense Advertiser Has Conversation With Himself
Barry Schwartz pointed us to a DigitalPoints forum thread that shows an amusing back and forth account between an AdSense publisher and Google. It’s a classic game of Who’s On First as the AdSense rep and a confused advertisers go back and forth “discussing” the invalid clicks on the advertiser’s account.

The whole thing goes something like this:

Google: Hey you – The guys at the Goog have notice there are invalid clicks being generated on your PPC account.. If you don’t fix the problem we will be forced to cancel your account. .

Confused Advertiser: Oh, no! I’m so sorry. I’m not doing it myself. Please tell me how can I fix this? I’ll do anything. Just let me know how.

Google: Listen, we’ve had just about enough of your attitude. You’re done. All your PPC belong to us.

So I slightly paraphrased, but the point is Google never really tells this advertiser how he can remedy the situation or addresses any of his concerns. Instead they just point back to the problem. Further down the thread the kicked-out advertiser reveals he includes AdSense on all of his 1,000+ hosted sites, so more than likely it’s someone using his free hosting that’s doing something illegal, not him, but Google doesn’t know that. To them, he’s just another spammer, and really, why should they think otherwise? Still, it’d be nice to think there are real people behind Google, people that listen and react accordingly.

In reality, this advertiser got off easy. He allowed his AdSense code to be put on more than 1,000 people’s websites. It could have been worse.

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