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Yahoo buys itself a ticket for the Ubuntu train

The watchful eyes at Phoronix noticed that a pair of small changes were announced yesterday on the Ubuntu dev list. Both will affect the browser in Lucid Lynx — and both have to do with search.

The more subtle of the two is a small tweak within Firefox. When a user changes his or her default search, the Ubuntu start page’s search box will send queries to that provider. While most users may never see this in action (just about everyone sets a custom home page, right?), it’s a nice change and keeps the search experience consistent.

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Firefox’s future lies in Google’s hands: the reasons why

Firefox has just turned five, and it’s doubtful anybody outside of Redmond begrudges Mozilla’s celebrations. The open-source browser now accounts for 25% of the global market, according to figures from Net Applications, and has brought a radical rethink in what we expect from a browser.

Yahoo pulled into a row between China and Google

Yahoo got pulled into a growing row between China and Google on Saturday, as its Chinese partner slammed Yahoo’s statements supporting Google while a source revealed the search giant had stayed silent about cyber-attacks.

Yahoo pulled into Google fracas, Alibaba slams comments

Yahoo got pulled into a growing row between China and Google on Saturday, as its Chinese partner slammed Yahoo’s statements supporting Google while a source revealed the search giant had stayed silent about cyber-attacks.

Foreign firms that withdrew from China

Google, the world’s top Internet search engine, threatened to shut its Chinese-language Google.cn website and offices in China, saying a massive cyber-attack from China had resulted in theft of its intellectual property.

Here are some foreign companies that have withdrawn from or sold down their investments in the world’s third largest economy:

Google trades energy on wholesale market

With opportunities abounding in renewable power and energy efficiency, traditional IT companies are making some rather aggressive moves into this market. This week, Google announced that it will launch its own utility, while Yahoo has found a source of funds for a new data center: the Department of Energy.

November 2009 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

comScore, Inc. released its monthly Search analysis of the U.S. search marketplace. In November 2009, Americans conducted 14.4 billion core searches, with Google Sites accounting for 65.6 percent search market share, up slightly from 65.4 percent in October. Microsoft Sites grabbed 10.3 percent market share, up 0.4 percentage points versus October.

November 2009 U.S. Core Search Rankings

Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in November with 65.6 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! Sites (17.5 percent), and Microsoft Sites (10.3 percent). Ask Network captured 3.8 percent of the search market, followed by AOL LLC with 2.8 percent.

comScore Core Search Report*
November 2009 vs. October 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore qSearch
Core Search Entity Share of Searches (%)
Oct-09 Nov-09 Point Change Nov-09 vs. Oct-09
Total Core Search 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Google Sites 65.4% 65.6% 0.2
Yahoo! Sites 18.0% 17.5% -0.5
Microsoft Sites 9.9% 10.3% 0.4
Ask Network 3.9% 3.8% -0.1
AOL LLC Network 2.9% 2.8% -0.1

* Based on the five major search engines including partner searches and cross-channel searches. Searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers.

Original story

comScore Releases October 2009 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

RESTON, VA – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its monthly comScore qSearch analysis of the U.S. search marketplace. In October 2009, Americans conducted 14.3 billion core searches, with Google Sites accounting for 65.4 percent search market share, up from 64.9 percent in September. Microsoft Sites grabbed 9.9 percent market share, up 0.5 percentage points versus September.

October 2009 U.S. Core Search Rankings

Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in October with 65.4 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! Sites (18.0 percent), and Microsoft Sites (9.9 percent). Ask Network captured 3.9 percent of the search market, followed by AOL LLC with 2.9 percent.

comScore Core Search Report*
October 2009 vs. September 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore qSearch
Core Search Entity Share of Searches (%)
Sep-09 Oct-09 Point Change Oct-09 vs. Sep-09
Total Core Search 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Google Sites 64.9% 65.4% 0.5
Yahoo! Sites 18.8% 18.0% -0.8
Microsoft Sites 9.4% 9.9% 0.5
Ask Network 3.9% 3.9% 0.0
AOL LLC Network 3.0% 2.9% -0.1

*Based on the five major search engines including partner searches and cross-channel searches. Searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers.

Americans conducted 14.3 billion searches in October, up 3 percent from September. Google Sites accounted for 9.4 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! Sites (2.6 billion), Microsoft Sites (1.4 billion), Ask Network (552 million) and AOL LLC (412 million).

comScore Core Search Report*
October 2009 vs. September 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore qSearch
Core Search Entity Search Queries (MM)
Sep-09 Oct-09 Percent Change Oct-09 vs. Sep-09
Total Core Search 13,836 14,309 3%
Google Sites 8,975 9,362 4%
Yahoo! Sites 2,600 2,571 -1%
Microsoft Sites 1,305 1,412 8%
Ask Network 541 552 2%
AOL LLC 416 412 -1%

*Based on the five major search engines including partner searches and cross-channel searches. Searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers.

October 2009 U.S. Expanded Search Rankings

In the October analysis of the top properties where search activity is observed, Google Sites led the search market with 13.5 billion search queries, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 2.7 billion queries and Microsoft Sites with 1.5 billion searches. Bing experienced the largest growth of the top ten expanded search properties with an 8-percent increase in query volume to more than 1.2 billion searches.

comScore Expanded Search Query Report
October 2009 vs. September 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore qSearch
Expanded Search Entity Search Queries (MM)
Sep-09 Oct-09 Percent Change Oct-09 vs. Sep-09
Total Internet 21,334 22,032 3%
Google Sites 12,839 13,505 5%
Google 9,373 9,788 4%
YouTube/All Other 3,466 3,717 7%
Yahoo! Sites 2,692 2,663 -1%
Yahoo! 2,668 2,639 -1%
All Other 24 24 0%
Microsoft Sites 1,352 1,457 8%
Bing 1,156 1,245 8%
Microsoft/All Other 196 212 8%
Ask Network 718 730 2%
ASK.COM 339 348 3%
MyWebSearch.com/ All Other 379 382 1%
AOL LLC 625 628 0%
AOL Search Network 366 359 -2%
MapQuest/All Other 259 269 4%
eBay 621 617 -1%
craigslist, inc. 624 594 -5%
Fox Interactive Media 500 478 -4%
MySpace Sites 494 472 -4%
All Other 6 6 0%
Facebook.com 384 331 -14%
Amazon Sites 191 212 11%

Original Story
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Keywords law suit, SEO beware

MILWAUKEE (AP) – A lawsuit in Wisconsin is bringing a fresh challenge to the practice of paying for keywords on Google and other search engines to boost one company’s link over a rival’s.

The practice has occasionally prompted a rival to file legal challenges alleging trademark infringement. Now a Wisconsin law firm is trying a new angle – accusing its competitor of violating privacy laws.

Habush Habush & Rottier is one of Wisconsin’s largest law firms, specializing in personal-injury cases. But search for iterations of “Habush” and “Rottier” and a sponsored link for Cannon & Dunphy attorneys often shows up, just above the link for the Habush site.

Habush alleges that Cannon paid for the keywords “Habush” and “Rottier,” in effect hijacking the names and reputation of Habush attorneys.

Cannon acknowledged paying for the keywords but denied wrongdoing, saying it was following a clearly legal business strategy.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Milwaukee, where Habush is headquartered. Cannon is based in nearby Brookfield.

Habush based its lawsuit on a Wisconsin right-to-privacy statute that prohibits the use of any living person’s name for advertising purposes without the person’s consent.

“We believe this is deceptive, confusing and misleading,” firm president Robert Habush said of Cannon’s strategy. “If Bill Cannon thinks this is a correct way to do business he needs to have his moral compass taken to the repair shop.”

William Cannon, the founding partner of Cannon & Dunphy, said every business uses the same tactic to remind consumers of their choices.

“This is equally available to Habush if he weren’t so cheap to bid on his own name,” Cannon said.

One legal expert said it wasn’t clear how successful Habush’s lawsuit would be.

Ryan Calo, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said the statute seemingly was meant to protect people from having their names and images misused to suggest they endorse or represent something. That’s not the case here, he said.

“Although (Cannon’s) conduct may run afoul of the literal words of the statute, I don’t think the conduct at issue goes to the core of this particular aspect of privacy,” he said.

Similar lawsuits have been filed over the keyword issue, with some differences. An American Airlines lawsuit targeted not a rival but Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., and alleged not a privacy violation but that the search giants infringed on its trademarks.

American was upset that Web users who entered search terms such as AAdvantage, the trademarked name of its frequent-flier program, saw results that included links to American’s Web site but also to its rivals under sponsored links.

Google compared its policy to magazines that publish a Ford ad on the page opposite a story about Chevrolets. Yahoo said it had confidence in its policies, which allow advertisers to use others’ trademarked terms if they do so without creating “a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Google last year. The case against Yahoo is ongoing.

Paying a company like Google for keywords is a common business practice. Based on how much a business pays, along with other search criteria, someone who searches for those keywords will see the company’s link at the top of the page, labeled as a sponsored link.

The Associated Press searched for “Habush” and “Rottier” on Thursday morning. Cannon’s sponsored link appeared on Google and Bing, Microsoft Corp.’s search engine, but not Yahoo. By Thursday afternoon, the link was no longer on Google.

Cannon said his company didn’t take down the Google keywords, and speculated that Habush turned the tables Thursday afternoon by paying even more for the same keywords to bump out Cannon’s link.

But Habush surmised his rival faced a budget issue. A search engine like Google places ads based in part on users’ clicking patterns and on the advertiser’s prepaid budget for a certain number of views. Habush figured that so many people ran the search terms after news of the lawsuit emerged Thursday morning that the budget had run out.

Original story

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