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Monday, 9 July 2007

Bytes · Chinese searcher? Pause for tea - End of SEO? - Groening: You are The Man has Chinese Eye Tracking Study: Baidu Vs Google by Gord Hotchkiss

On Google, users found what they were looking for in literally half the time (30 seconds vs 55) and with half the real estate ... The Baidu results page is a pretty murky prospect. There’s virtually no transparency on what’s sponsored and what’s not. There are “preferred listings” that are paid listings, pushing true organic listings down the page. And the preferred listings are cluttered with affiliates and spam. By North American standards, Baidu would be a horrible search experience. But the fact remains, they’re still the preferred choice for the vast majority of Chinese users.


Because Chinese is presented as symbols, where concepts take their final meaning from a group of combined symbols, it’s much more difficult to scan this information quickly. To try to put in a Western conceptual framework, imagine how difficult it would be to scan meaning from this paragraph if our alphabet was extended to 2000 characters, presented in block letters and all the spaces between words were removed. I can’t do anything about extending the alphabet, but I can change it to block letters and remove the spaces:


So why use Baidu, apart from the obvious?
  • Baidu is the primary vehicle to locate and download free MP3 files. This generates a huge amount of traffic, as this is one of China’s most popular online activities.
  • Slower connections make Chinese users more patient


Rebecca Lieb blogs about the Search Engine Strategies (SES) Toronto conference on ClickZ. Message? Times are tough because of Google's new search incorporating news/video etc.

According to Seth Godin, echoing Mike Grehan - "It means we've finally reached the point where better marketing counts -- and not H1 tags":

We've now entered into an era he calls the end of SEO. "For the first time in the last six months, the search engines are really winning. They find what they're supposed to find more and more, getting tricked less and less. There might be a different way to go about solving the problem than getting on the front page of Google.

  • Eric Meyer has all about very 'hairy' form styling issues with CSS

  • Naomi Klein: Laboratory for a Fortressed World

  • Gee, automatic speech recognition has come a long way.

    In 'Speak on the Dotted Line' — which is a line you hear in some systems — Rory Bremner for Radio 4 examined two types of speech technology [MPEG]: speaker recognition and voice verification.

    'Can his skill as an impressionist fool the computer systems?' Er, look away now [no]. Very good.

  • Times: Michaek Parsons Facebook, Parsons' Law, and teleportation:
    Highly technical people: engineers, scientists, programmers, got bored of something like Facebook many years ago, and now we're all just catching up.
  • New York Times: Online Sales Lose Steam as Buyers Grow Web-Weary

    · Analysts say it is a turning point and growth will continue to slow through the decade.
    · Retailers have livened up their stores to be more alluring
    · “It’s not like you go onto Amazon and think: ‘I’m a little depressed. I’ll go onto this site and get transported,’ ”
    · A so-called clicks-and-bricks hybrid model is emerging

  • Reuters: Blocked China Web users rage against Great Firewall
    Millions of young urban-dwelling professionals are increasingly aware of and fed up with state intrusions into their private life. Privacy, once regarded with suspicion in pre-reform China, has become a sought-after commodity ... "The thirst for information in China is so strong, it is very difficult for the (Communist) Party to stay ahead of the curve."

Funny anecdote from Matt Groening promoing the Simpsons Movie to Radio 4.

Asked about DRM 'as a former alternative cartoonist', he said:
'I've been bootlegged, ripped off, whatever you want to call it. Even my handwriting was converted into a font and downloaded a million times. I went into an shop to buy alcohol and the notice about kids buying booze was in my own handwriting! Oh, man. Now I am 'the man'...'

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