Shopzilla Learns About Link Building

April 29, 2007

Scripps (owner of Shopzilla) has taken a beating recently as the company claims click costs are too much for Shopzilla to handle. Scripps has therefore said it would concentrate on brand building and driving free traffic. One strategy seems to be link building. And I mean a TON of link building.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), one factor that goes into rankings on Google and Yahoo! is the number and quality of inbound links. If your site has a lot of links from high quality (traffic, relevance) sites, that’s good. Not a lot of links, not so good.

Well, seems that Scripps has discovered this SEO tactic and has put links to Shopzilla, BizRate, and uSwitch on most of its media properties. Here are some examples:

From Redding.com:
shopzilla on redding.com

From Newsnet5.com:
shopzilla on Newsnet5.com

So this is what they mean by free traffic.

You can find these links on most of Scripps’ newspaper (20 listed on this page) and broadcast television (10 listed on this page) sites. These links are in addition to the various modules of Shopzilla content that were already in place on most Scripps properties.

Very smart move on the surface. Whether there should be some sort of disclosure that Scripps is the parent company of both the newspaper/tv station + Shopzilla is not really bugging me.

What does make me a little uncomfortable, though, is the lack of relevance and value to the average Joe reading a newspaper site like Boulder’s Daily Camera.

After reading Looking for the warning signs in kids, do parents really need to ‘Comparison Shop for Digital Cameras and Appliances at Shopzilla& BizRate’?


Become Sports New Look

April 25, 2007

Over the last couple months, it’s become pretty clear that Become has become more and more of a shopping comparison engine and less and less of a product research engine. Yes, the AIR (affinity index ranking is still there) and all that product research stuff (buying guides, discussions, etc.) is still there, but shopping search is the focus of the company.

Big difference with the redesigned homepage is the addition of ‘shop by category’ section.

become product search

This comes on the heels of Become’s updated taxonomy for merchants.


Scripps Interactive Group Posts First Quarter 2007 Loss

April 25, 2007

Highlights from the press release:

“Revenue at the company’s interactive media division, including Internet search businesses Shopzilla and uSwitch, rose during the first quarter of 2007, but segment profit for the division was down because of changing business conditions, strategic investments the company is making to improve the consumer experience and competitive position at both businesses, and costs related to a transition in leadership at Shopzilla. On a pro forma basis, as if the company had owned uSwitch since Jan. 1, 2006, Scripps Interactive Media revenue was down 8.7 percent during the quarter.”

Interactive Media revenue was $62.9 million for the first quarter compared with $58.6 million in the first quarter 2006. On a pro forma basis, as if the company had owned uSwitch for the full year 2006, Scripps Interactive Media revenue was down 8.7 percent. The segment loss at Interactive Media was $400,000 compared with $13.9 million in segment profit in the first quarter 2006. Costs related to the leadership transition at Shopzilla reduced segment profit by about $5 million. The company also invested $10 million during the quarter to build brand awareness for uSwitch in the U.K.”

Scripps Interactive Media, which includes Shopzilla and uSwitch, is expected to generate segment profit of about $5 million in the second quarter. The company’s outlook for the second quarter and balance of the year assumes no improvement in market conditions experienced by both businesses in the first quarter. For the full year, interactive media segment profit is expected to be between $30 million and $40 million.”

The bigger they are the harder they fall?
Q4 2006 Earnings Call
Q2 2006 Earnings
Q1 2006 Earnings
A look at 2005


Froogle Out, Google Product Search In

April 18, 2007

Google Product Search

Froogle is being replaced by Google Product Search. I’m waiting for the site to launch (it still says Froogle) to write up my comments. In the meantime, check out Elinor Mills’ take or Danny’s take.


Google Base

April 16, 2007

A search for ‘engineering jobs in san francisco’ brings up a google base search box:
google base search

A search for ‘new york apartment’ brings up a google base search box:
google base real estate search

Does it make any sense that a search for a product (Plantronics CS50/HL10 Wireless Convertible Headset) brings up Froogle listings as opposed to a Google Base search box or at least Google Base results?
Google Base product search


Amazon Might not be Working With Google Base Store Connector

April 16, 2007

According to 2 posters in Google’s Google Base Help Discussion Forum, Amazon sent an email that it is ‘stopping the feed for Store Connector.’

Haven’t spoken to anyone at Base or Amazon about this yet, so I have no more details.

If you’ve been following my posts on Google Base, you’ll know that I think these automated feeds represent a poor solution for merchants.


Search Engine Strategies NYC – Next Week

April 5, 2007

The Rangers Clinched! Go Rangers! Ooops. Wrong topic. ;)

I’ll be presenting at Search Engine Strategies as part of the Shopping Search Tactics session @ 2pm on Thursday. We jazzed up the session last time (Chicago) and got a great response. I’m hoping to include lots of new information, and I hope my fellow panelists (Brian Mark – Toolbarn & Jake Berry – Marchex) will as well. Allan Dick is sure to keep it educational but entertaining. Oh, and we’ll be bribing the audience again with great rewards!

I’m only in the city Tues – Thurs, but let me know if you’d like to meet up. Just send me an email (brian at comparisonengines dot com), and we’ll make it happen.


SingleFeed Closes its Series A Financing

April 5, 2007

The Mets swept the Cardinals, the NY Rangers are a game away from the playoffs, and SingleFeed raised a round of financing. Nice week!

I wanted to share the news with you that SingleFeed closed its Series A round. There have been a lot of people who helped Jeremy Horn (my co-founder) and I get to this point, but first I really want to thank the readers of ComparisonEngines and the shopping search ecosphere that has supported me for just about 2 years. It’s amazing to be part of this dynamic industry and hard to believe that my involvement can be traced back to a couple blog posts from May of 2005.

As I explain over at SingleFeed, we raised the money “to grow the business with an eye on developing the best application possible to help small and medium sized merchants succeed on the shopping engines and make sure that our merchants are very well taken care of.”

We’re going to continue to be small and scrappy – which I think is an important trait in this ever-changing wired world – but hopefully we’ll have a few less hunger pangs. ;)

I’d like to welcome True Ventures and NetService Ventures aboard as our investors, but more importantly, our partners. They truly believe in our vision and are giving us the guidance, encouragement, and sanity checks we need to succeed.

Here’s the official press release. Oh, and we’re hiring.


SingleFeed is Hiring – Web Developer, Merchant Advocate

April 5, 2007

SingleFeed made a little announcement this morning – which I’ll talk about in another post – but I wanted to let you know that we have some job openings.

These are contract positions, but could easily develop into full time jobs if it’s the right fit. We’re a virtual company, so telecommuting is ok although I’m biased towards a Merchant Advocate in the Bay Area and my partner, Jeremy Horn, is biased towards a Web Developer in NYC.

Oh, and if you don’t fit one of the positions, but know someone who does, we’ll pay a healthy ($1000+) referral fee if it works out.

Merchant Advocate
You could call the position account management or customer service, but we’re really looking for someone who wants to help our merchants kick ass.

Responsibilities include the basic stuff:
-assisting merchants in setting up accounts with the shopping engines, categorizing products, responding to emails, working with the shopping engines to solve technical problems

And the cool stuff:
-proactively working with merchants to optimize their listings
-guiding the design and development of the product (be the champion for our merchants)
-working with our awesome development team to develop solutions for our merchants
-evangelizing SingleFeed (if you’re shy, this is not the position for you)
-and stepping up to be the go to person for anything else (business development, SEO, forum moderation, etc.).

We’re small and scrappy and need someone who wants to learn.

Qualifications/Experience:
Our ideal candidate lives on the internet and is interested in online marketing and ecommerce. You should have experience with internet marketing channels like Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Affiliate Programs, etc. Qualifications include:
-Excellent verbal and written communication skills (a people person)
-Familiarity with IMing, Skype
-Ability to multi-task in a fast paced work environment (jump from account to account, project to project)
-Good customer service and problem solving skills
-Thrives in a goal driven environment
-Knowledgeable of the internet industry and proficient with MS Office applications, especially Excel
-BA/BS degree or equivalent experience
-1-3 years of account management experience a plus, but we’ll consider a recent college grad who has had a number of business internships or even a much more seasoned veteran who wants to really take a leadership role in the company.
-Must be interested in working in a small start-up environment
-Knowledge of or experience with internet marketing (SEO, PPC, Affiliate Programs, etc.) is a plus.

Web Developer
SingleFeed is seeking Web Developers skilled in both the front- and back-end developer “arts” (individuals with superior skills one on or the other should also apply).

-Do you rock the DOM?
-Do you query the DB with grace and efficiency?
-Is cross-browser compatibility second nature?
-Do you make algorithmic complexity simply elegant?
-Do you have an eye towards cross-browser visual and functional perfection?
-Are you able to make your Perl a scalable gem?

YES?! Then we would like to hear from you! Send us your resume today at ‘jobs at singlefeed.com’. We are seeking a serious FT web application developer to start immediately. Not seeking an outsourced team solution.

We need a versatile web developer with experience in JavaScript, CSS, Perl, and mySQL. This developer will be a self-driven worker with attention to detail. A plus, if you have experience working on UI (or designing user interfaces/experiences). Contractor will work from home or in an office in Manhattan (depending on preference). The environment is that of a fun and friendly start-up. We are seeking to build a team of passionate, team-oriented people.

Web application developer must have experience building flexible, cross-browser compatible, scalable web applications with 1-3 years of experience using:
• Perl(CGI/mod_perl),
• JavaScript(Ajax/Json – ok, no one has 3 years of Ajax, but you get the picture),
• CSS(cross browser) and
• MySQL (data modeling and ANSI SQL)

Additional consideration will be given to candidates with following experience:
• XML(Xslt/Xpath, Web Services, DTD/XML Schema)
• UI Development (with Attention to Detail)
• Web Page Design (Web 2.0 / AJAX)
• Technical Specification creation and writing
• Comet, Cometd, Reverse AJAX, etc.


Smarter Video Reviews Part 2

April 5, 2007

My friend Greg Sterling thinks that most of the video reviews can be ‘excruciating to watch‘. He was responding to my post here and a slightly different version over at Search Engine Land. What do you think?

Greg and I are in total agreement that this is going to be an important part of the purchase process…it’s just a matter of time before we see them everywhere. How they’ll evolve is another question.

I don’t ask much from you readers out there, but some comments on the future of video product reviews would be appreciated.

Thanks!


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