Bits and Bytes for September 24, 2004

Hitwise Releases Search Term Tool

Competitive intelligence firm Hitwise got into the keyword game this week with the launch of its new search term suggestion report.

By monitoring 25 million Internet users and using data from the major search engines, Hitwise is able to identify relevant keywords for customers, allowing for improved optimization.

“You can type in ‘digital camera’ and get every variation of a search phrase that contains the term. Not only will you get all the phrases, but also the ones which are successful,” said Bill Tancer, vice president of research at Hitwise.

“What’s interesting is that the 14th most popular search term for digital camera is ‘canon’ misspelled. The value for the advertiser is to find what people are searching for and what has been successful,” said Tancer.

The misspelled “cannon digital camera” had a 53 percent success rate, meaning that more than half of these poor spellers resulted in a site visit.

Tancer notes that the Hitwise tool is different from other keyword-identifying applications because it tracks every search engine. “We also categorize what terms are successful versus unsuccessful.”

The Search Term Suggestion report is just one portion of Hitwise’s offerings. The online service also provides site rankings, clickstream analysis, demographic information, and PRIZM lifestyle profiles.


Microsoft Files Nine New Spam Suits

Microsoft’s first suit against a Web hosting company is among nine new court actions the company has taken in its continuing legal fight against spammers.

With this new set of complaints, the number of Microsoft-supported lawsuits against illegal bulk emailers and the companies that support them climbs above the 100 mark. This includes 70 actions brought in the U.S.

The new suits target Web hosting company cheapbulletproof.com, its principal Levon Gillespie, and various John Doe defendants who allegedly used its services. They invoke both the 2003 Federal CAN-SPAM Act and the Washington Commercial Electronic Mail Act.

In the complaints, filed in a Washington State Superior Court, Microsoft alleges Gillespie sent spam to consumers advertising his Web hosting services and hosted sites in China for other spammers. Maintaining the servers in Asia allowed him to evade U.S. investigators, Redmond said. The messages, which were routed through computers in various other countries, contained faked header information. The list of products advertised is basically a compendium of the most common spam: pirated software, pornography, Viagra, stock advice and mortgage offers.

A note on cheapbulletproof.com’s site says, “We guarantee your website will not get shutdown!! We cater for both established bulk email experts and companies that have not used bulk email before. Why Choose Us? Our servers are all China-based to ensure no problems arise from complaints generated by email you send.”

In a statement, Microsoft asserted it is “committed to identifying, targeting and suing not just spammers, but also those who knowingly conspire, enable and support spamming in any way.”

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