A summary of search related news items that occurred this week including in light of emerging competition from Facebook, MySpace plans an extreme expansion of their workforce and global coverage, Verizon announces a super-fast Internet service that offers 20 Mbps download and upload speeds, Google slaps text link selling sites with PageRank reduction, Microsoft beats Google in battle for Facebook’s advertising hand, CNet sells Webshots photo sharing site to American Greetings for $45 million, and finally, in the next couple of weeks, Digg will roll out a new Images category in addition to News, Video and Podcasts.
- MySpace Extreme Expansion in Light of Facebook Competition – MySpace is the world’s largest social networking web site, and plans to keep it that way. With emerging competition from Facebook (which I feel is a much better application), Bloomberg reports that MySpace plans to double its workforce to 1,600 in the next year as it adds features and expands to 30 countries. In 23 countries already, they additionally plan on two to three acquisitions a year. MySpace CEO, Chris DeWolfe said, “If you look at any Internet site, the majority of their profits are from their global business,. We’ll run out of people in the U.S. Our goal is to be No. 1 in every market and the biggest Web site in the world.” MySpace’s U.S. viewers declined sequentially for the first time in the company’s history during the quarter ended Sept.30th, falling to 68.4 million from 70.5 million in June.
- Verizon To Offer Super-Fast Internet Service - Verizon announces that they will be offering a symmetrical Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers, featuring an upload and download speed of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps). The groundbreaking new service – delivered straight to customers’ homes – is the first of its kind commercially available to U.S. consumers on a mass scale. It is available, starting today, in parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Verizon plans to offer similar symmetrical services soon in the 13 other states where the company offers FiOS Internet service, and to introduce a similar small-business offer. “Verizon’s new 20/20 FiOS service blows cable away. Their upload speeds don’t even come close,” said Susan Retta, vice president, Broadband Solutions for Verizon. Additional details available in the official press release.
- Google Slaps Text Link Selling Sites With PageRank Reduction - It’s speculation of course but many prominent sites that sell text links or PageRank in one way or another were slapped overnight with PageRank reductions. Some of the sites include Engadget (from 7 to 5), AutoBlog (from 6 to 4), Problogger (from 6 to 4), Copyblogger (from 6 to 4), Washington Post (from 7 to 5), Forbes.com (from 7 to 5) and SFGate.com (from 7 to 5). Even sites within our own industry have been hit – Search Engine Guide (from 7 to 4), Search Engine Journal (from 7 to 4) and Search Engine Roundtable (from 7 to 4). Two questions remain to be answered – will these sites suffer any traffic loss due to their reduced PageRank scores and for those buying text links on these types of sites, are they still benefiting from the link as far as link juice goes? I’m sure the entire blogosphere will cover this but here are a few links.
- Microsoft Wins Battle for Facebook’s Hand - In a battle to win Facebooks “advertising” hand, Microsoft has come out the winner. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft has agreed to invest $240 million for a minority stake in Facebook that values the social-networking site at $15 billion, beating Google in a closely watched contest. As part of the deal, the two companies expanded their existing advertising agreement. Microsoft, which previously handled Facebook’s U.S. ad sales, will now also sell the site’s international advertising. Facebook, a three-year-old Palo Alto, Calif. company, expects a profit of $30 million on revenue of $150 million this year, according to people familiar with the company.
- CNet Sells Photo Sharing Site Webshots for $45 Million - CNET is selling Webshots
to American Greetings for $45 million in cash. That might sound like a lot of money for a photo sharing site but considering that CNet originally bought Webshots in 2004 for $70 million, one can quickly see that they lost money on the deal. Neil Ashe, CEO of CNET Networks, stated that, “this transaction enables CNET Networks to continue to focus on key areas of growth. We’re pleased that Webshots can become an important ingredient to American Greetings business.” TechCrunch has additional details including the contents of an email sent by Neil Ashe to all CNET employees.
- Digg To Add Images Category - Michael Arrington of TechCrunch learned from Digg founder, Kevin Rose, that they will be adding an Images category in a week or two, on top of the existing News, Video and Podcasts. The fact that Digg would add an images category was originally hinted on their blog in August. The launch is now eminent as they have lots of images are already uploaded. This move shows that Digg is continuing to add content types in a structured way, and cleaning up its taxonomy to provide an easy way to navigate the site based on topical interests. Michael also points out from a separate conversation with Digg CEO, Jay Adelson, that Digg is making an effort to turn the corner from a tech-focus to mainstream news.