- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2008

NEW YORK — Imagine a world where the desktop computer is just a conduit to run externally hosted software, tap into off-site storage facilities and display an unlimited, free flow of interactive information. How about a place where surfers use their search engine to view universal results pages loaded with so much information that they no longer need to click to a Web site?

Those were just some of the possibilities and probabilities explored by the thousands of marketers and optimizers at this year’s New York Search Engine Strategies Conference.

In an industry reliant on the whims and ever-evolving parameters of search-engine leaders Google, Yahoo and MSN, the energy at the conference was justifiably frenetic.

Here are a few of the highlights from the four-day event, which stressed how a properly placed keyword can be the difference between profit and anonymity on the World Wide Web.

• Remember the days when the Yahoo Directory was the place to go to search for Web sites? When Yahoo used results that actually were reviewed by someone? Well, the former chief executive officer of Weblogs, Jason Calacanis, hopes to revive the tradition with his human-powered search engine Mahalo (www.mahalo.com), a place that brings the best of a social element to the faceless search results generator.

His speech concentrated on an initiative called Mahalo Greenhouse, which pays average surfers to write search results pages. He boasted he has assembled the largest distributed work force on the planet, which produces more than 1,000 pages a week covering 10 to 20 searches. Additionally, unlike the major engines, he and his staff are willing to talk to any site owner who disagrees with his page rankings on Mahalo.

• Promoting his new book, “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World From Edison to Google,” author Nick Carr made a strong case for centralized computing. He defined the idea as a revolution as significant as the birth of the power grid and acceptance of the utility company by major industry. His World Wide Computer concept presents a device for consumers and business devoid of complex installation and no longer required to be maintained by an IT department. Better yet, it plugs into a planetary network of data centers delivering extremely cheap information from server warehouses the size of football fields.

• One of the sessions that could have equaled the excitement of watching paint dry — Analytics: Data in Action — was a bit livelier, at least for this sci-fi geek, thanks to Site Logic President Matthew Bailey.

His presentation on the importance of segmentation in Web site analysis tied into a look at the unfortunate red-shirted crew members seen in the original “Star Trek” series. Simply put, when the numbers were crunched, any unlucky fellow wearing a red shirt who beamed down to a planet with Captain Kirk had a 57.5 percent death rate. If Kirk met an alien woman on the planet, the red shirt survival rate jumped to 84 percent.

• When asked how the little blogger can compete in cyberspace against companies loaded with consultants, experts and nearly unlimited budgets, Josh Stylman, a managing partner from Reprise Media, a search engine optimization and marketing company, says, “Creating compelling content is number one.”

As far as the potential for popularity and financial gains on the Internet, he suggests offering an experience in which people want to participate. “You have a global audience at your disposal,” he says, “24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com).

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide