Standard Sitemaps From Google, Yahoo and Microsoft

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all agreed on a standard specification for sitemap files. Information about the new standard can be found over at sitemaps.org. If you’re not sure what a sitemap is, sitemaps.org has a nice explanation:

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.


Fortunately for me, there’s really nothing I have to do to take advantage of this new spec. I’ve had a sitemap file for quite a while, and it gets updated dynamically with every new post I make. My sitemap xml file is quite large.

Joseph Scott brings up an important aspect of this new spec, pinging. Pinging basically means that when you make an update to your blog or site, you can ping Google/Yahoo/MSN to let them know you’ve made an update. That way they can crawl your site sooner to index your new content. Pretty neat.

Build Your Own Google Search

Google has launched the Google Custom Search Engine. This new service will allow users to build a search engine based on their interests or just whatever really.

You can give your search engine a name and description. You can also enter a list of keyword that will be used to tune your search engine results. You can also set specific sites to search, so only those sites defined are searched. Here’s a bit from the Google Blog:

We’re thrilled to tell you that the search for your own search engine is over. Today we are launching the Google Custom Search Engine. As you might imagine, it’s a simple and straightforward product to use and understand. In a matter of minutes you can create a search engine that reflects your knowledge and interests; looks and feels like your own; and, if you choose, you can make money from the traffic you receive through Google’s AdSense program. You can even invite your friends and trusted community members to add to and help build your search engine.

RealClimate has already built this new service into their website. So, head over there if you want to see the thing in action. That site actually worked with Google previous to the launch of Google Custom Search Engine so they could get a nice demonstration put together by the launch day.

The AdSense Game

Joel Comm has created a pretty neat AdSense game. Basically, it’s a game focused on making money with your website through AdSense.

I thought it would be fun to put together an online game focused on making money with AdSense, and I’m pleased to invite you to come and try out The AdSense Game now!

Be sure to follow the instructions so you can get the hang of it quickly. Realize that it is just a simulation and not real life. It’s there for fun, but you may learn a thing or two along the way!


Joel has a post on his blog about the game in which he gives a few useful links to those who enjoy playing the AdSense game.

Looks like it could be pretty fun, but I think I’ll stick with the real AdSense “game”, this site. The AdSense game is comparable to games like Lemonade Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon.

[via BlogNews Channel]

Google’s Click Fraud Analysis

So, yesterday, Google released an analysis of click fraud. Basically, Google says there’s many flaws in how click fraud consultants determine a click is fraudulent.

A rigorous technical analysis by Google engineers has found fundamental flaws in the work of several click fraud consultants – flaws that help explain why widely quoted estimates of the size of the click fraud problem are exaggerated. We would like to share this research so that advertisers can be aware of these problems and so these consultants can use the information to improve their services.


You can download the entire PDF here. It’s 17 pages and is about 165KB. The post at the Inside Adwords blog is pretty lengthy, so go read the details. The analysis done by Google included a case study on 3 of the major click fraud firms: AdWatcher, ClickFacts, and Click Forensics. Google is worried that advertisers may be making changes to their campaigns based on inaccurate data provided by these third party firms. Which could adversely affect the performance of their online marketing campaigns. Boo!!

Adotas has a good post on the subject too.

AOL Data: First Searcher Identified

Techcrunch has information on the first person positively identified from the AOL data. AOL searcher number 4417749 has been identified as Thelma Arnold, a 62 year old widow living in Lilburn, Georgia.

As you might expect, the searches made by her are pretty innocent. Her search queries range from “numb fingers” to “60 single men” to “dog that urinates on everything.” The New York Times has a pretty in-depth article about Thelma and other, yet unidentified searchers.

Ms. Arnold, who agreed to discuss her searches with a reporter, said she was shocked to hear that AOL had saved and published three months’ worth of them. “My goodness, it’s my whole personal life,” she said. “I had no idea somebody was looking over my shoulder.”

In the privacy of her four-bedroom home, Ms. Arnold searched for the answers to scores of life’s questions, big and small. How could she buy “school supplies for Iraq children”? What is the “safest place to live”? What is “the best season to visit Italy”?

Wonder when we can expect the first lawsuits to be filed? Personally, I expected some yesterday. AOL had a shitty reputation before, I’d be surprised if this doesn’t end up sinking them at some point.