Yahoo! Local mapspamming

Wow, the number of ways to manipulate search results just keep growing.  A technique coined “mapspamming” has begun to pollute Yahoo! Local’s results, as has “comment bombing”.

In a known case, a company pretending to be a local florist engages in fals advertising–they buy a local phone number with a fake business address, and gets themselves listed in Yahoo! Local.  Part of the ranking algo for Yahoo! Local includes proximity to the geographic center, these reults appear near the top.  Next, several fake Yahoo! user accounts are used to rate the scammers highly, and denigrate the competing local florists.

Calls to the phone number are forwarded to a national call center, where the pretend florist takes the order and transmits it to a real florist, keeping a hefty percentage of the order and any service charges.  Although the consumer thinks they’re dealing with a florist local to that town, they’re actually getting ripped off.

For the full story, see

Social Media Marketing

MarketingProfs has some good food for thought in their Q&A with Josh Hallett:

Q: We keep hearing about the growth of Facebook. For most companies, does it make more sense to use its blog, or social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as tools to stay in touch with its customers?

A: If we look at many of the “tools” of social media and social networks, the foundation is conversation and relationships. The majority of users are on the services to interact with friends. But can a corporation be a friend? Does a corporation really have anything of value to offer a customer in terms of conversation or relationships?

This is where the human element comes in (has DOW trademarked that yet?). I’m not going to “friend” a company, but I will friend somebody who works for the company. However, is that person able to speak on behalf of the company?

Ooohhh, that’s good stuff.  I see a lot of companies–large and small–thinking they need to get into Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.  Why?  People are loyal to brands, but don’t really relate to companies.  Now, the owner of a small business can build a cult of personality around themselves, but that makes separating oneself from the business especially tricky.

Read the full story at

More Reasons We Don’t Want Open Search to Beat Google

Following on the heels of my question Do We Really Want Open Search to Beat Google, one has to wonder how much of a problem vandalism and general inaccuracies really are in Wikipedia.

One example I mentioned was politicians and their staff and their detractors editing and re-editing the articles.  Microsoft didn’t do any better when it paid a blogger to maintain the Open Office XML page.  A Wikipedia editor discusses these examples at

Recently, the same editor published an article about The Right Way To Fix Inaccurate Wikipedia Articles.  A politician did not correct inaccuracies because he feared a PR backlash:

The exact text as it appeared in Wikipedia was:

“A graduate of the University of Michigan, LaTourette studied law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and had the dubious distinction there of disrupting a school assembly honoring Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. LaTourette was roughly removed by the Secret Service.”

The really damaging aspect of that allegation is how it bears a tangential resemblance to the truth. There actually had been a student disturbance when Prince Charles visited that law school. LaTourette was enrolled at the time but had nothing to do with the incident.

A Wikipedia Scanner has also been developed to track who has been editing entries:

Every once and a while Wikipedia seems to get some odd editing’s and phony entries. They get caught fast but are extremely annoying for people who rely on the tool for research.

More story at

Community Credit is Fun Again!

In the beginning, Community
was fun.  Make some blog posts, answer some forum questions, and
get a geeky prize (don’t judge me, swag whores).  After a while, some folks
figured out how to game the system a little, and some seriously major
participants also signed up.  Not sure how some of these people got all
those points.  It wasn’t fun, because you couldn’t even come close.

Recently, David has made some changes.  Some of the top contributors
were promoted to the Hall of Fame, point values have been changed, and a
negative curve is applied to winners for two months.  Suddenly, stupid
prizes are readily available again.  I’m awaiting my 10th place from
July.  Woot!

Podcamp Pittsburgh 2: August 18-19, 2007 at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh!

Friends Cindy Closkey and Mike Woychek are back in the saddle with another awesome
opportunity to learn about blogging, podcasting and marketing in the “new
media”.  Sadly, I’ll be on my way to Hilton Head Island this weekend. 
But don’t let that be an excuse not to attend–it will still be a great

In case you haven’t heard, PodCamp Pittsburgh is coming back for a
SECOND great year!

WHAT: PodCamp Pittsburgh 2 (or PCPGH2)
WHEN: August
18-19, 2007@ 9 AM – 5 PM
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (420 Boulevard
of the Allies, Pittsburgh PA 15219)

UPDATED! The session schedule is open! Please visit the website to
view the schedule or add your own if you want to conduct a session and share
your knowledge!

Meet social media creators — and fellow viewers / listeners /

Exchange tips, build contacts and launch new ideas!

Learn how to integrate (or improve) podcasting, blogging and social
networking into YOUR

Questions? Sponsorships? Registration?

For more information, please visit our website:

You can also add us at Twitter:

Looking forward to seeing everyone in