Google Buying Feedburner for $100 M

Techcrunch reported that Google is close to buying Feedburner for $100 M. This deal has been rumored for a while now, but today Techcrunch said definitely that a deal will happen.

What does this mean? The comment board at Technorati is already buzzing with the possibility of seeing Adsense ads in Feedburner feeds in the not-to-distant future. Additionally, it is very likely that there will be some kind of integration between Google Reader and Feedburner.

I also think that this will help Google Blog Search to include more blogs in its index. Furthermore, other blogging service sites, most notably Technorati, will probably feel the need to quickly partner up with someone else. A Google-Technorati marriage is also possible, although it’s not as obvious as the Google-Feedburner marriage, where there is little overlap between the two.

Google shows what’s hot in near real-time

Today, Google announced Google Hot Trends, a feature within the Google Trends tool. If you go to Google Trends right now, you’ll find a “Today’s Hot Trends” section, which lists the 10 top hot queries on Google (now only limited to the US site). At the daily level, Google will also show the top 100 top queries.

Two things I found interesting about this service are:

1. Google is telling us, in a near real-time fashion, what’s hot in the world. I am sure savvy webmasters will soon be able to take this information and use it to drive traffic to their sites.

2. If you go into each hot query, you’ll find a “discuss with others” link, which links to Google Groups, and appears to be a play at the Communities space. I do agree that looking at a “what’s hot” list would generate a lot of discussion, so this is a good idea by Google. At the same time, I don’t see a lot of threads there, so it remains to be seen whether this component will be a success.

Please, Use UTF-8 Encoding

As internet communities grow, the lines between different languages are blurred. No longer are communities geared towards any particular language, but communities are likely to be consisting of many different languages.

Where am I going with this? Well, I have been noticing that some of the Web 2.0 sites are not yet using UTF-8 encoding. As a result, it is difficult for people in double-byte countries to use such services. An example is BlogCatalog. If you look at the source code of that site, you’ll see that the site is using character set iso-8859-1, which is for single-byte languages only. Being a blog listing service, this essentially means that they have precluded blogs from countries using double-byte languages from being listed, and it will be very difficult for them to attract visitors from countries using double-byte languages.

If you are an enterpreneur planning on launch the next great Web 2.0 site, do yourself and everyone else a favor: encode your site in UTF-8 (that’s the unicode standard most often seen). Better yet, make sure the functionalities you offer work in other languages. This way, everyone in the world can use your great site.

Social bookmark sites: More than bookmarks

Do you have a del.icio.us account? Have you been using Blogmarks as your bookmark tool for a while now? How about other bookmarking sites? If you answer yes to these questions, you might already have a page with a non-zero PR value. That page is your user profile page. For example, in del.icio.us, it’s http://del.icio.us/xxx; in Blogmarks, that page is http://www.blogmarks.net/user/xxx, where xxx is your user name.

What determines the PR value of a user profile page? It’s the same as any other web page — The more links to a page, the better it’s PR value. As a user, then, you just need to really use the service to bookmark your sites. The more pages your bookmark, the higher the PR of your user profile page is going to be. Also, don’t forget adding relevant tags to your bookmarks.

The significance of this is that if your user profile page already has a PR and you are launching a new site, all you have to do is bookmark your site to that particular bookmark service, and the search engine spiders will automatically find your new site from your user profile page. In addition, if your user profile page has a PR of at least 2, your site will likely to gain a PR value after the next Pagerank update.

Adsense Referrals, Anyone?

When it comes to Adsense, people immediately think of Adsense for Content Ad Units. Some will mention that Adsense for Content Link Units can be profitable as well. Finally, a few people know that Adsense for Search can generate income. At the same time, Adsense Referrals get very little mention.

I have come to understand there are sites that generate more income through Adsense Referrals than through Adsense for Content. Initially I was shocked at how this was possible. Then, as I dug more into it, I started to understand how Adsense Referrals can be profitable as well.

Of course, the way to do that is not to just throw up Adsense Referral links, and expect people to click on it, and sign up / download the product you are promoting. The way to do it is to write a tutorial on signing up for that product. For example, if you are promoting Adsense for Content, you can write a tutorial on the application process, how to place the code in your webpage, etc.

Over the long run, I have no doubt that Adsense for Content is the most profitable component of Adsense. However, in the short run, it doesn’t hurt to give Adsense Referrals a serious look, especially now that Google has increased the payout for referrals. If you have a content website, writing a tutorial on how to use Adsense might not be a good idea; however, if you have a blog, this is definitely worth a try. This can be especially helpful if Adsense is not yet prevalent in the language you are targeting.

MyBlogLog: A Marketing Tool

By now, more than 120,000 people have joined MyBlogLog. What’s so great/interesting/useful about this site? To me, it’s a great marketing tool in several ways:

1. When you visit a site that has the the MyBlogLog widget installed, they’ll see that I visited their site, and they will likely visit (at the minimum) my profile page in return.

2. When I join other communities and add MyBlogLogers as my contacts, they will see that I have joined them, and they will likely come back and visit. Better yet, other people who belong to the same communities/have the same contacts will Join other communities and add others as contacts.

3. Follow some people and see what communities they join, especially the people who are blogging about the same thing as you are. Pretty soon you’ll also know what are the top sites in your niche.

All of the methods mentioned above are open to abuse — you just can open a new window everytime you go to a new site without actually viewing the site content, or you can just join all the communities you see and add everyone as your contact. However, it’s pretty easy to see who are the “community whores” and “contact whores”, and people will simply stop at your profile page and not go visit your site at all.

Browser Market Share, April 2007

Here is the browser market share for April 2007, based on traffic to my top site:

IE: 64.81%
Firefox: 31.28%
Opera: 2.21%
Safari: 0.74%
Mozilla: 0.62%

During April, IE continued its decline, losing 0.64%. What’s different from before was that not all that decline was picked up by Firefox — Firefox picked up less than half of the 0.64%, or 0.23%. The biggest gainer during April was Opera, which went from 1.89% in March to 2.21%, for a gain of 0.32%. It will be interesting to see if this positive trend continues for Opera going forward.