As some of you may know, I am attending Search Strategy Conference and help MSN Expo Booth. Today is my first day and I had opportunity to catch a couple of sessions I’d like to share with you. Tomorrow, I will help out MSN booth and may not have much opportunity to attend sessions. Let me know if you are particular interested in some sessions or would like to ask customers some questions.

Session 1 - Introduction to Search Engine Marketing

This is a 1.5 hour introduction for the key concepts around search engines, search optimization. Most of concepts are not new to you, but I thought it was really cool to actually see Danny Sullivan, especially after I read 4 of his articles on local search. I was also surprised to find out how many people don’t know about basic terms. It was good to see people come and get education as search is such a buzz to a lot of non-technical folks.

Session 2 – Earning From Search & Contextual Ads

This session looks at the way publishers can generate revenue by carrying search results and contextual ads offered by major networks. This helps to learn about some programs out there and tips on getting more from the ads carried.

This is a panel discussion with folks from Yahoo(Will Johnson), Google(Satya patel), “master” Ad tester (Jennifer Slegg) etc. It was educational. I kind of liked the intro from Google. Adsense really tried win-win-win for all participants of this ad ecosystem (Advertiser, Publisher, User). They have 17 languages available. They system will offer contextual targeting, site targeting besides keyword targeting. The small shops are really pumped by the ad programs. Somehow I did not see MSN in this panel discussion. I thought at least we want to let the customers know we are about to offer the program as good as the competitors if not better. That made me wonder if local search could actually pilot MSN Adcenter earlier than its full launch.

Session 3 – Global Search Landscape

In this session, I had chance to learn some of the searching habits and popular search engines outside the United States. I also learned some top level tips to consider if focusing on a particular world region or country via search.

The potential of search markets outside US is just amazing judging from number of potential users. I don’t have the exact number noted down, but if assuming those countries in China, India and south America have the same broadband penetration rate, the market potential is huge. Google is not always number one outside of US. I view this as our opportunity. Below are some interesting tips when considering search optimization internationaly

  1. plurals vs. Singulas
  2. prepositions and particle issue
  3. Accents
  4. Alternate characters
  5. Aggregations or not

Session 4– Vertical Search topic on book search

This is a panel discussion with folks from MSN(Thiru Anandanpillai), Google(Tom Turvey), Yahoo (Sumir Meghani) etc. I learned how MSN, Yahoo and Google work with publishers to submit books and makes the print content online. Do you know actually 80% of the published books are actually out-of-print and not accessible easily. Inspired by the session, I was thinking about how local search could benefit, wouldn’t be nice to local a book/Video/image locally to your library, bookstore, person for some un-answered queries that normal web search could not provide answer today? Below are the notes from each speaker.

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Google Tom Turvey

Head, print partnershis 212-5898614

turvey@google.com

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-          The goal is to drive more book sales

-          Publisher could generate additional revenue with contextual ads

-          What does it offer?

o        Reports on Partner's Progress

o        Content is protected

o        Page-level security

o        Only a percentage of pages are available online

-          Google Print- How it works

o        Are publishers seeing results?

-          Library projects

o        Library partnership

-          Vision

o        Since 80% are out of print, make 20% In-Print (partner program) -> 60% or more (unclear copyright status Less than 20%.

 

-          Three User Experiences

o        Sample pages View, Snippet View, Full Book View

o        Controversial Snippet View

-          Full text of book is indexed

-          Users can only view 3 snippets

-          Links to buy this work and find it in a library

-          categories of books treated differently

-          Library Project Scanning Policy

o        Only 12 month after its public release

 

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Sumir Meghani, Yahoo!Search

Open content alliance

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-          Enable people to Find, Use, Share and Expand all human knowledge (FUSE)

o        Find – local the contents

o        Use - Search not for sake of serching, but to achieve a purpose

o        Share - sharing knowledge with people you connect with and connecting to people who you share knoledge

o        Expand - Provide book…

 

-          The opportunity

o        Free online content (blogs, CNN, eBay) -> Onine Content (Wall Street Journey, Le Monde, New York Times)-> All Content(Books, Spoken word archives as legal cases)

 

-          How is OCA different than other perceived similar efforts?

o        OCA is collaborative, around the world, digitized text and multimedia content

 

-          OCA policies

o        Content - Permission of copyright holder needed before content will be digitized and ade available online

o        Accessibility

o        content in repository will be crawlable by any search engine

o        Metadata exposed through feeds(OAI, RSS)

-          Example of MIT OpenCourseWare (Tried to digitize all course material online)

-          Use - Third parties are encouraged to build service on top it

-          Digitization - Existing digitized collections can be included in repository with permission of content provider

 

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Thiru Anandanpillai

MSN Search

Thirua@microsoft.com

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-          Motivation

o        The importance of book content

o        A lot of very complex queries go unanswered

o        Even if it is answered, it takes 7-11 min

-          Approach MSN took

o        talked to publisher because they understand the customers better

o        digitization of 80% out-of-print book is not something easily solvable by just MSN search

o        End user innovation (get to interactive with book as many ways as possible, new business model explored