Domains, Traffic & the Corporatization of Search Results.
Before the “beginning,” there were corporations. Ads on TV, full page ads in the Yellow Pages, newspapers and magazines. Everyone knew the big guys – ATT, State Farm, Bank of America…
Then the internet came into being. So in this “new beginning” (umm, about 1997-1999), there was net… It was fair to one and all. Little guys went toe-to-toe with the big guys and won.
It was a time when someone like YourFavoriteCarInsuranceCompany.com could create a site and then rank first for car insurance. All was good for the little guys who toiled in obscurity. The playing field was level allowing the little guy to compete against the big guys. Little guys everywhere rejoiced.
Then Google figured out what people were searching for and what the users wanted in their results – i.e., the bigger players. So now GEICO, Progressive and maybe a single keyword rich url CarInsurance.com, assuming it is active with great content, rank at the top of the heap. Now, the little guys have faded back into obscurity again.
While not apparent at the time, this corporatization of search results would soon become the model for all keyword searches.
The Google Mayday update seems to have caused a few major changes, especially impacting PPC landing pages for domain owners:
1) Most PPC landing companies (and the domainers who use them) have seen their revenue go down, some report by as much as 50%+. It was pretty easy for Google to look at the DNS and determine if it was a parking page.
2) Matt Cutts indicating that the searches for long tail traffic keywords, will now favor sites that have greater value (high content, high inbound links, high recognition, visitor utility, quality off site links). You don’t need a secret-agent decoder ring to understand that this generally means results from bigger companies. They have bigger sites, tend to get links, etc.
So, the Mayday update means the corporatization of search results will now pervade into almost every search.
Furthermore, this will impact domain holders in two ways:
1) They will be willing to pay less for dropped domains at auctions, since it will be much harder to recover the investment via PPC revenues.
2) The overall portfolio valuation have decreased due to less revenue being generated.
So, the internet is going into its first cycle, much like short, short skirts, then long skirts, then short, short skirts. As you know, everything old, becomes new.
So here is what is new. We are going back to, before the beginning – big companies will again outrank little companies.
This corporatization of search results will continue with the other major search engines and continue to decrease the revenue and valuation of domain holders (Of course, quality domains will hold their values).
There are some strategies to fight this, but that is for another post…
Backup That PC or Mac with Mozy online back up software
I have a real simple solution to mortgage crisis…
Most of the owners want to stay in their homes, but can’t afford the monthly – they will have to rent anyways
Simply change all the terms of the loan to 40 years
It lowers the monthly costs, allows the owners to stay
They can always refinance later if they have to or when they can
How To Do A Session Saver of all Open URL’s in Internet Explorer – IE, or Mozilla Firefox
Here is the problem I had – I would have both IE and Firefox open and sometimes get low on resources and then my Windows would crash (surprise). Even with session saver add-ons for both, I could lose all open URL’s especially when I had multiple windows of Firefox or Internet Explorer open, each with numerous tabs open.
With so many windows and so many tabs, this URL capture tip could be a life-saver – no software needed.
In Firefox, go to
Tools | Options
tab, select use
All the open URL’s will appear there. Just copy the line. Firefox will list them all URL’s separated with a |, so just hard return after each pipe as you save to file.
In IE, go to
Tools | Internet Options
tab, select use
All the open URL’s will appear there. Just highlight all rows, and copy the lines. IE will list them all URL’s in a column for you.
Next, open a text file and and paste once a week or when low on resources. Be sure do enter the date and keep a running file of date, followed by all open URL file names.
THE MOSSBERG SOLUTION
By KATHERINE BOEHRET
Tapping Your TiVo’s Hidden Talents
A Brief User Guide To Codes, Shortcuts You May Not Know
Wall Street Journal March 5, 2008; Page D8
TiVo is well-known as a high-end DVR with a great user interface. Its bubble-popping sound effects and grinning, animated mascot help users forget how much it costs to use. (TiVo boxes range from $100 to $600, and TiVo service costs $129 for one year when prepaid.)
A fondness for TiVo has encouraged users to refer to it with designated nicknames and/or genders. A teacher friend of mine was recently asked by a student if her husband’s name was TiVo after the child heard her say she would have to tell TiVo about a new TV show. But like any old friend — or spouse — who has been around for a while, TiVo has a few tricks up its sleeve that might surprise longtime users and new owners alike. This column includes just a handful of those tricks and highlights some features that may make TiVo more useful. These tips are for everyday users, not serious hackers, and many others exist.
Each of these codes is entered one time to enable an otherwise-hidden function, and three chimes signal the code is set. These functions can be disabled by entering the code a second time, or if TiVo is rebooted.
Clock: If you miss having a VCR nearby to tell you the time while you watch TV, TiVo can help. A digital clock can be programmed to show up in the lower right-hand corner of your television screen by pressing “SELECT-PLAY-SELECT-9-SELECT.”
While playing recorded shows, this clock displays the current time and the elapsed time of the program you’re watching. Personally, I check a show’s progress by pressing the remote’s Play button to see the progress bar, and the Info button shows the current time. But the on-screen clock might come in handy when you’re watching TV on a terrible date and you don’t want to get caught glancing at your watch.
30-second skip: One of the glorious functions of TiVo and other DVRs is their ability to fast-forward through commercials. But it takes practice to know when to press Play so as to completely miss commercials.
If you’re unsure about your fast-forwarding technique, TiVo can be permanently set to skip ahead in 30-second increments, by entering “SELECT-PLAY-SELECT-3-0-SELECT.” This code must be set while watching a recorded show. After that, the 30-second skipping works whenever you press the “Skip To Tick” button, which looks like an arrow pointing right to a straight line.
TiVo says this code won’t work for longer time increments, like 90 seconds, and I tried using various increments, to no avail. Still, pressing this button about five or seven times in a row (depending on the show) gets you through commercials with less guesswork.
Disappearing progress bar: TiVo’s progress bar, which shows how far along a program has progressed in terms of the entire show’s duration, appears at various moments, such as when you first play a recorded show or unpause. This indicator lingers on the screen for just about three seconds, but if this seems too long, you can enter “SELECT-PLAY-SELECT-PAUSE-SELECT” to set the progress bar to disappear after less than a second.
I tried this setting on my TiVo, but one second showed only a quick blink of the progress bar, not enough time to see anything.
From the TiVo Central menu, pressing each number on the remote control’s numeric keypad skips directly to a different tool. Some of the more useful shortcuts include pressing “1″ to go to Season Pass Manager (a list of programs that are set to automatically record every episode), “4″ to go to Search Title and “8″ to go to TiVo Suggestions.
TiVo can display a programming guide in a TV-Guide-like grid, or as a two-columned TiVo Live Guide that can list future shows for hours or days out. The top of Live Guide gives a detailed description of each selected program, along with its duration and TV rating.
The Now Playing list shows content stored on a TiVo. By default, this list is organized in time sequential order with same-series TV shows grouped into folders. Remote-control shortcuts re-sort this list: pressing “1″ switches from sequential to alphabetical order and vice versa; pressing “2″ ungroups shows to display each title; shows are regrouped into folders when “2″ is pressed again.
Universal Swivel Search is a way of seeing how TiVo’s various shows and movies are related to one another. It lists details about each program, including actors, directors, tags associated with a show (like love, dating and addiction) and suggestions of similar content. Swivel Search is accessed through the Find Programs menu or More Options while looking at a recorded show.
By selecting a Swivel Search detail about a particular show, such as one of its actors, you can see what else he or she starred in and whether or not that show or movie is available through TiVo or Amazon.com’s Unbox. Unbox downloads movies directly to your TiVo ranging from $2 to $15 each depending on whether you rent or buy a movie.
Plenty of free Internet content can be downloaded from the Web to your TiVo. But TiVo confusingly places this content in two menus: Find Programs and Music, Photos, Products & More. Under Find Programs, a Download TV & Movies section offers Amazon Unbox movies and free TiVoCast content. The latter can be set to automatically download with Season Pass settings, such as The Onion’s weekly video or ExerciseTV’s twice weekly videos.
The Music, Photos, Products & More menu holds content like photos and unprotected MP3s from a nearby computer, podcasts, Rhapsody music, Yahoo! Weather and Traffic and on-screen games. You can even buy movie tickets through Fandango.
TiVo takes up valuable space in a home entertainment center, so it’s important for the company to make sure its content is varied and useful. The codes and shortcuts mentioned can change the way you use this valuable device every day.
–Edited by Walter S. Mossberg
SugarSync Offers The Best Method Yet For Replicating Files
Wall Street Journal April 3, 2008; Page B1
It’s a real problem keeping all the files you need available and up-to-date on multiple computers in multiple locations, whether they are key business documents or just favorite photos or songs. Adding to the problem is the increasingly common use of smart phones as little laptops, and the growing mixed use of Windows machines and Apple Macintoshes, which use different programs.
Now, there’s a new service called SugarSync that keeps your files replicated and synchronized across all your computers, whether they are Windows PCs or Macs. It even offers limited file synchronization on certain smart phones. The service is from a Silicon Valley company called Sharpcast and is available at sugarsync.com.
Walt Mossberg says with the exception of a few limitations, SugarSync is a terrific product for keeping your files synchronized across multiple computers — PCs and Macs — and even on certain smart phones.
Not only does SugarSync place the latest version of every file you designate for syncing on all your chosen computers, but it also creates an archive of these files on a special, password-protected Web page. That way, you can access the latest version of any file even when you are at a public or borrowed computer that lacks the SugarSync software.
I have been testing SugarSync on five different computers — three Windows PCs and two Macs — as well as on a Treo smart phone. I tried syncing everything from Excel spreadsheets to Word documents, from photos to songs to PDF documents.
My verdict: While SugarSync isn’t free and has a few rough edges, it is by far the best solution I have tested to replicating and synchronizing your files across multiple computers. It really works.
Every time you change a file — say, by editing a Microsoft Word document or rotating a photo — the changes are replicated within seconds on every computer to which it has been synced and in the Web archive as well, as long as the computers are connected to the Internet.
For example, I set up SugarSync to synchronize a folder containing some Word documents. Then, I opened one of the documents on a Dell and added a sentence to it. A minute later, I opened the same file on a Mac, which was also connected to my SugarSync network. The file already had been updated on the Mac to include the change I had made on the Dell.
While SugarSync is primarily about file replication across computers, it also helps solve another nagging problem: backups. Because the files you care about most are now replicated on multiple machines in multiple places, and are stored as well in a Web archive, they are also backed up. So if one of your machines dies, you don’t lose your files. And, if you find yourself in need of a file that doesn’t exist on the computer in front of you, it can be downloaded.
SugarSync works by uploading your synchronized files to its servers, in encrypted form, and then sending them down to your computers when they change. There is a 45-day free trial that gives you 10 gigabytes of file storage. After that, you can keep the 10 gigabytes for $25 a year. There are five other storage plans, ranging from $50 a year for 30 gigabytes to $250 a year for 250 gigabytes.
The software that makes it all possible, called SugarSync Manager, is free and comes in Windows and Mac versions, as well as versions for Windows Mobile phones and certain BlackBerry models. An iPhone version is in the works, but for now, you can scan your online archive using a special SugarSync page available through the iPhone’s Web browser.
You install the manager software on any computer you wish to be part of the synchronized network. You can select different folders on different computers for syncing. All get uploaded to the Web archive, where they can be accessed at will.
You can choose which folders you wish to replicate fully on each machine. For instance, you might want your main documents folder to be replicated on every hard disk, available even when you’re offline. But, with a folder of lesser importance, you might be content to just fetch a file when you need it from the Web archive.
SugarSync creates two special folders. One, called Magic Briefcase, is always replicated on every machine’s hard disk, so you can quickly add a file to it even if you didn’t select the file’s original folder for synchronization. The other, called Web Archive, retains files in their original versions, never updating or changing them.
So, what are the rough edges I spoke about?
Well, the Mac version of SugarSync manager is still in beta, crashes occasionally and has various bugs. A final Mac version is promised later this spring. The cellphone versions can only view photos and whatever documents the phones allow, but changes you make on the phones in documents other than photos aren’t synced back to the computers or to the Web site.
In addition, SugarSync can’t synchronize Microsoft Outlook files and it can’t, say, replicate a new calendar entry or contact change across your computers. The company has shown off this capacity in public demonstrations and says it is working on adding it.
Still, SugarSync solves a real problem and does so well.
Recumbent bicycles are easy on the joints — and good for the heart. Here’s what to look for.
By JOHANNA BENNETT
March 22, 2008; Page R5
Looking to break a sweat without damaging a limb, more people are pedaling their way to fitness on recumbent stationary bikes.
Recumbent exercise bikes — where users sit Big Wheel-style, with legs stretched out ahead, rather than extended downward — were ridden by 11 million Americans last year, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. The biggest and fastest-growing group of users: individuals age 55 and older.
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• See the complete Encore report.With larger seats than upright models and cushioned backrests, recumbent bikes reduce pressure on the lower spine, as well as strain on the knees, without sacrificing a good cardiovascular workout.
“The older we get, the more we may need to address aches and pains in joints and limbs,” says Mike May, a spokesman for the sporting goods association.
That comfort can be purchased at some stores for as little as $200. But the best bikes, at about $1,500 or more, rival those at health clubs.
We decided to survey what’s available in the recumbent-bike market, and find out what would-be buyers should look for. Experts suggest testing machines in the store (so dress comfortably). At a minimum, a recumbent bike should be easy to mount and dismount, and the pedals should turn smoothly.
The ride should be quiet and comfortable, and you should be able to adjust the seat and handlebars. Be aware that some machines have weight limits as low as 250 pounds.
Manufacturers include some nifty, and sometimes unnecessary, accessories, such as fans or the television screens that are available on two of the models we tested. Most bikes come with computerized consoles that display heart rate, calories burned, speed and distance pedaled.
“Don’t get sidetracked by bells and whistles,” says Behzad Amiri, marketing director for Gym Source, a home-gym consulting firm and fitness-equipment retailer in New York. “Buy the best model you can afford.”
Here’s a look at some high-end models we recently tested. For all four models, the rider’s pedaling generates the power needed for the digital displays and other functions, so the bikes don’t need to be placed near an electrical outlet. All have numerous programmed workouts.
SIT BACK … and have a spin: Star Trac’s S-RBx model
Two of the bikes allow a rider to get on the machine without swinging one leg over an obstruction between the seat and the pedals. That can be a big plus for arthritis sufferers.
Star Trac S-RBx
If you want to pedal away the pounds while reading the new James Patterson novel, this is the bike for you.
Manufactured by Star Trac, based in Irvine, Calif., the S-RBx is one of the most comfortable bikes we tested, and the largest, weighing 185 pounds and sitting 52 inches high. A small set of wheels makes the machine portable, but many may find it too heavy to move every day.
The comfort of the S-RBx makes it suitable for the novice or others who might be turned off by a less inviting machine. It was the only bike we tested with armrests like those on an office chair.
The contoured seat felt well-padded. And the pedals are a bit wider than on other bikes, making them more comfortable.
The S-RBx costs $2,899 in the store, and a television screen can be added for $1,500. The bike comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and a three-year warranty on parts and labor.
Smaller and sportier, the Cybex Cyclone, as the name suggests, is designed for riders who want to push themselves during their workout.
Made by Cybex International Inc., based in Medway, Mass., this bike is the industry’s most durable, some experts say. It’s able to handle up to 400 pounds. The warranty covers the frame for 10 years, parts for two years and labor for one year.
One drawback is that the Cyclone can’t be mounted without stepping over the machine with one leg. And the seat felt small. Rather than allowing us to sit back and relax, the bike was angled so it felt like we were coming up out of the seat. A price tag of $3,195 (not including a television screen that can be added for $1,445) makes the Cyclone the most expensive bike on our list.
It does have some interesting features, including cruise control, which allows the pace of the rider’s pedaling to be controlled to achieve a target heart rate. “Athletes have a hard time elevating their pulse on an exercise bike, but this bike gets the heart rate up,” says Gym Source’s Mr. Amiri.
Lifecore Fitness Inc., based in San Marcos, Calif., touts the Lifecore 1000RB as the industry’s smallest recumbent exercise bike. At 120 pounds and measuring 44 inches in length and two feet wide, the bike can fit in many closets.
Still, a 5-foot-8-inch rider fit the bike without any fuss. And despite its size, the Lifecore 1000RB felt very sturdy and surprisingly comfortable. It can bear 300 pounds. And at $1,499, it’s a good choice for beginners, says Mr. Amiri.
There are some drawbacks. The Lifecore’s console is much smaller than those on other bikes and might prove hard to read. The controls, meanwhile, may confuse some people. Rather than pressing buttons to select one of the 12 exercise programs or adjust the resistance when pedaling, we had to scroll through the choices by toggling a dial similar to the one on an iPod.
While the bike is easier to mount than the Cybex Cyclone, there isn’t as much clearance between the seat and pedals as there is in the other two models we tested.
The bike’s warranty covers the frame for life, parts for seven years and labor for one year.
Like the Cybex Cyclone, the True PS100, made by St. Louis-based True Fitness Technology, provides cruise control, automatically adjusting resistance to help a rider reach a target heart rate. The PS100 costs $1,899.
The seat was the most comfortable one we sat in all day. The bike can handle up to 350 pounds. The warranty covers the frame for life, parts for three years and labor for one year.
A noteworthy feature: The seat back reclines as much as 45 degrees, a boon for overweight riders who have trouble pedaling a recumbent bike.
“This is a company that really thought about the bike seat,” says Mr. Amiri.
Expresso Recumbent Bike
Expresso Fitness Corp., based in Sunnyvale, Calif., turned exercise into a videogame when it launched the Spark — now called the Expresso Upright Bike — a few years ago. The bike has a flat-screen display that allows riders to simulate chasing opponents through various outdoor courses.
A recumbent version will be available in May for $5,295. Expresso is taking orders for the bike now.