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Should Google Be Regulated?

Posted by Karen Rubin on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 @ 09:30 AM
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One of the things that makes planning for HubSpot.tv easy is that Mike and I are lucky enough to get content suggestions from the HubSpot team all week long. Today, in preparation for Friday's show, @BradfordCoffey brought this fantastic article on TechCrunch to my attention. 


 In it, an unidentified, but "well known executive at one of the largest sites on the Internet" argues that the search engine optimization and marketing industry needs to be regulated. He/she urges us to imagine,

 "that the entire Internet is contained within a single continent. That continent is filled with countries, states and cities. Each jurisdiction is autonomous, relying on visitors to cross on to their turf to engage in commerce. Now, imagine if the only way to get into this continent involved just two methods: SEO and SEM. Let's further imagine that the borders to this continent were controlled by a single company."

The argument goes on further to say that as a result of controlling organic and paid listings and by not disclosing how the results are displayed on these systems, Google is effectively deciding what business succeed and what businesses fail.  

 The author comes to the conclusion that the solution to this problem is requiring that search engines disclose how their algorithms work. Further stating that this is the only way by "which all businesses can compete freely in the organic and paid search marketplaces."

I would love to discuss this on HubSpot.tv on Friday, but I am not sure if I agree or disagree. I would love to know what you think. Do Google (and other search engines) have to disclose their magic in order to have a free market on the internet?  

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Newspapers Should Innovate NOT Beg

Posted by Karen Rubin on Thu, May 28, 2009 @ 11:27 AM
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It shouldn’t be news to anyone that the newspaper industry isn’t doing well. The cost of producing a newspaper far exceeds the cost it is sold for and the real money is earned in advertisements and classified listing services. As the internet hasHowevecont conti continued to grow and expand sites such as Craigslist.com have provided the same listing services for free and thus the money earning opportunities have dwindled for newspapers.


In addition, because the internet is based on the open sharing of information, newspapers have failed to bring their businesses online in a cost effective manner. Forcing customers to pay online subscriptions has failed and online advertising is continually decreasing in value. The industry has failed to keep up with the changing times and newspapers around the country are bleeding money and beginning to close.

All of this has sparked recent discussion and debate about a potential newspaper bailout which culminated in the Newspaper Revitalization Act which was introduced a couple of weeks ago by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md).The Act, as described in Tech Crunch,

allows newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. taxcode, and thus receive the same tax-benefits as a non-profit organization.Revenue from advertising and subscription would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.”

The Act is getting some heat for its restriction prohibiting newspapers from endorsing political candidates, but I think the bigger problem is that it would halt innovation in an industry that is desperately in need of it. Newspapers have been failing for the last 5 years and they haven’t quite figured out that they need to change something drastically in order to survive. A bailout from the government will only prolong their slow death and hinder true forward motion.

I don’t have the answer to how the newspaper industry can have all their problems solved, but I am sure if a couple more fail, people will start to get antsy and the brain-juice will start flowing. Scott Kirsner shared on HubSpot.tv, that he thinks newspapers need to reach out to the local businesses that have supported them in the past, to find out how the newspapers could better support them. It’s not a novel idea to ask your customers what you can do to give them better service, make them happier and then jack up the rates, but I don't think it's something the newspapers have tried yet.

Another idea might already be in the works between Google and the New York Times. Newspapers have fantastic data about what people are reading they just haven’t put that data to use to serve better targeted ads. If there is any company in the position to help them do so, and supply the infrastructure to do so, it’s Google.

Newspapers provide a valuable service to the country by keeping us all informed. I agree it would be tragic to see the industry bite the dust, however I also think it would also be tragic to miss this opportunity to embrace innovation and instead provide a crutch to a failing industry. 


*Photo Credit: Lakewentworth on Flickr 

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Chrome is Just Delicious!

Posted by Karen Rubin on Fri, May 22, 2009 @ 12:45 PM

If you have spent any time recently watching Hulu, you may have noticed Google's new ads for Chrome.

 My first reaction was, really? An ad for a browser? Then I realized they have a whole slew of video shorts and YouTube channeldedicated to the browser. So bravo to Google for creating some cool content to get the word out about their browser.

 But I can't stop there. I also made the transition to Chrome this week. It took me awhile to do it, although my co-workers have been raving about it since it came out. My concerns were a FireFox feature and a Firefox add-on that I didn't think I could live without. Chrome now supports the feature (which Dan Abdinoor explains in his Chrome tips, it's #5) and so I figured I would give it a try. 

 I am never going back. Chrome is faster, it's lighter, it's easier to use and it takes up less of my screen space, so I see more of the content I want to see. That may not seem like a big deal, but it's easy on the eyes and really a nice bonus. 


In short, bravo to Google for not only creating good, fun interesting content to promote a new product, but also for creating a fantastic product.  


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Posted by Karen Rubin on Fri, May 01, 2009 @ 02:04 PM

In less than two weeks after launching Karen-Rubin.com I made the first page of Google for term Karen Rubin! Honestly I thought it was going to be a little more challenging, but I am not complaining.

Check out my rise to page #1. The green line is Karen-Rubin.com and the red is my other site, Gormandizing.com. The yellow is KarenRubin.com, the site I am trying to knock out of the first position. 

My strategy for getting to the first position, which I do expect to take longer, is to keep adding content regularly! I am planning for a couple of posts a week minimun and hoping to get at least one per day. Hopefully I can find interesting things to say every day!

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WOO HOO! Google Found Me!

Posted by Karen Rubin on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 @ 07:15 PM

It took just over a week, but today something MOMENTUS happened. Google officially found Karen-Rubin.com! As you can see from the HubSpot screen shot below, I am ranking #39 for the search term "karen rubin" and #71 for the search term "karen-rubin".

It's interesting that I am ranking higher for the term that is not my URL, but that's probably because I don't refer to myself as karen-rubin very often on the blog. In any case, I'll keep working to move myself up in the ranks and hopefully one day be able to claim domination!

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Set up your Google Profile Today

Posted by Karen Rubin on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 @ 02:31 PM

Yesterday Google took a step towards making their profiles more helpful by launching Google Me. If you go and type "Me" into Google, you will get the option to set up your profile (you can also go to here). Once set up, your profile will show at the bottom of the search results. 

Who knows what this means for now, but I am going to guess that it's a great move for personal branding. They allow you to include your Gmail name as the URL, so my Google Profile URL is, http://www.google.com/profiles/Karen.Roy. I was a bit bummed that I couldn't change this to Karen Rubin at first, but I should have known Google would figure it out. When you search for Karen Rubin, my Karen.Roy Google Profile does show up. Smart folks over there at Google. 

Over at Mashable there is some concern about the amount of information this allows Google to know about you. I have to admit, I gave up that battle a while ago and fully embrace Google knowing all there is about me. When they take over the world, perhaps they will be nicer to people who have supported their domination.

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