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Google News

I am terrible about taking the time to watch the news or read a newspaper, but i do make an effort to stay up to date through google news. I realized recently that I have no idea where Google gets their news from. I always simply trusted Google. Thus, today I began my quest to know the source of my news.

To begin, I went to the about Google News page to find how Google defined themselves as a news provider. This was very helpful. “Google News is a computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from more than 4,500 English-language news sources worldwide, groups similar stories together and displays them according to each reader’s personalized interests.”

google-news-logoNow that I new Google News wasn’t simply reproducing news from CNN or FOX I wanted to know how they filtered there 4,500 sources and decide which news stories to display. As I dove deeper I found that Google’s News articles are selected and ranked by computers that evaluate, among other things, how often and on what sites a story appears online.

The same way Google gives out page rank and determines which sites are most relevant for organic search is driving what news we read. There is, however, a personalization element that changes things up. Users of Google News are offered links to several articles on every story, so one can first decide what subject are of interest and then select which publishers’ accounts of each story is preferred.

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My concern is that although Google News apparently uses a democratic methodology of determining news, is that the media as a whole is not democratically controlled. News stories that make it into google by there ranking system of relevancy may be relevant by standards of controlled and biased news. The demographic that mostly uses the internet for their source of news is simply going to be spoon fed the majority opinion with little opposing view.

Google should look to better filter results by offering a the most relevant articles of  not only the majority view that is most viewed, but also the opposing perspective. This to me means relevancy.

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The Wizard of Dealz… DealOz.com

One of the primary reasons people use the internet is to shop around and compare prices. Everyone is always on the hunt for the best deal. If you clicked the link you realize that there are better ways to find the best deal than simply poking around with a gun.

wizard2People are looking to save time and money when shopping online. That means there is a need, a pain that needs to be met. Price Comparison sites are all over the web because of this, but few are as usuer friendly as dealoz.com.

Dealoz.com is the wizard for turning the internet price comparison game into winning site for users to find the best deal.With so many things be offered through E-commerce these days it is nearly impossible to find a website that successfully gathers this information and puts out on the web in an not overwhelming and viable option.

Dealoz.com has solved this problem by narrowing there focus to the main products/services sold online. There powerful price comparing search engine focuses on Books, Movies, Music, Video Games, and Computer Electronics. There database searches are unbiased and consist of more than 594 online stores.

When one searches for a product, such as a school textbook through dealoz.com, the result is not merely a link to the “cheapest price” and providing a link to make your purchase. Rather, dealoz.com allows the user to see a comparative list of the 594 stores and 100,000+ sellers in their database that is selling that specific textbook. Below is an example of how dealoz.com organizes your search.

dealozcom1 Dealoz gives all the valuable information a seller is looking for upfront and even provides available online coupons and applies them for your purchase. Because of how user friendly and convenient dealoz.com the site is truly valuable for online users. The deal hunter will soon be extinct!

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The Digg Parasite

As Digg has grownin popularity so has general awareness of the “Digg effect”. For those of you who were like me and do not know anything about the Digg effect let me explain. Digg effect is “the term given to the phenomenon of a popular website linking to a smaller site, causing the smaller site to slow down or even temporarily close due to the increased traffic.”

The Digg effect occurs when a smaller site makes it to the front page of Digg. The resulting mass increase in traffic overloads the host server and takes all the bandwidth. Sites can be down from anywhere around a few hours up to a couple of days.

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Let’s evaluate, however, the pros and cons of being Dugg by Digg. Aside from the obvious risk of the “Digg Effect” in being worse off than before being Dugg, it is interesting to note that the common users of Digg generally do nto click on ads. The users of Digg are not concerned with so much as finding a sweet new site, but rather finding quick and valuable web tools and information. Second, Digg users generally do not return to the webpage, but rather simply move on to the next big Digg.

So, if Digg users are not faithful users for returning to your site and do not click ads what else can they offer… one positive aspect of being Dugg is that Digg users generally offer comments about the site. On One hand these comments can serve as valuable critical criticism for the Dugg website. On the other hand these comments can also be tedious to go through and are often shallow, reflecting a similar single minded perspective. 1811

What about the SEO benefits of Digg? Although being Dugg has shown some results in SEO page rank on google, it more often than not fails to work. In fact, the general trend is that the actual Digg of a website is considered more relevant by google than the actual site being Dugg. To try to use Digg as a SEO tool is difficult and unrewarding.

In conclusion, while Digg is a great site to use and have fun with, from my research, I feel that Digg is merely a parasite doing more harm than good. Sure a smaller site gains more exposure, but it is temporary and comes with the likely potential of huge costs through crashing your server with only a small and unlikely chance for benefit.

For a more positive perspective on Digg as it relates to other websites check out the blog post Digg Effect: Top Ten Things Webmasters Should Know.

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How does Wikipedia Make Money?

Have you ever wondered why wikipedia doesn’t have any advertisements? Or possibly you have noticed when trying to add or edit an existing wikipedia page that it is never kept, but is always restored back to its regular settings? Maybe, it hit you one day just how huge wikipedia is and how much information the site holds.

The most outstanding part of all of this is it is free. So how does a site with no advertisements, a vast amount of data to manage and host on servers, and a staff that is constantly filtering and editing the online encyclopedia stay in business? In other words how does wikipedia make money?

wikipediaThe simple answer is this. It doesn’t. Wikipedia is a non-profit site run by the The Wikimedia Foundation. Just because wikipedia is non-profit thought doesn’t mean it still doesn’t need funding. So where does wikipedia raise it’s funds?

The Wikimedia Foundation mostly raises money through public donations. It also receives a small portion of its funds through small corporate sponsorships. Wikimedia will run raise the majority of its funds through 3-4 intensive fund raising efforts throughout the year.

The money that is raised by the Wikimedia Foundation mostly goes to buy new servers and keep the site running. But what else does the Wikimedia Foundation support? While Wikipedia is The Wikimedia Foundation’s bread and butter site, they also support a number of other wiki sites.

Each of the above sites are supported and funded by The Wikimedia Foundation and can be explored in greater detail by visiting the wikimediafoundation.org. The Wikimedia Foundation site also allows you to give donations to the above sites.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to check out some of the other wiki sites. Wikipedia is the 4th most visited site in the world! The creators of such a site must have done some good work for their other sites as well.

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What's an i-Google Homepage?

Lots of people use google.com as their homepage, but what many people don’t realize is that they can get the same google.com, but better. i-Google is a customizable homepage that allows users to to have almost anything they want or could imagine. It’s free, it’s organized, it’s convenient, and it’s worth checking out.

Here’s a snapshot of my i-Google homepage…

i-google

The picture is kind of overwhelming so here’s a basic breakdown of some i-Google features.

  • Customizable Tabs
  • Customizable Background Themes and Colors
  • Helpful Gadgets
  • SEO Tools
  • RSS Blog Readers
  • Games
  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Instant Messaging
  • E-mail
  • Facebook, Myspace, and Linked-In Site Access
  • AND SO MUCH MORE THAT I HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH TIME TO EXPLORE!

i-Google is not only driven by developers and businesses trying to build their brands and web presence, but is mainly user driven. If you check out the thousands of add-ons  available for your homepage, you will realize that the main creators of tools and the sweet applications are made by average internet users.

These applications feature familiar internet activities like youtube videos, popular games, pictures, music, celebrities, news, sports and helpful online tools. It can be designed for whatever interest you could possibly want. Even if i-Google doesn’t have your niche you can make it yourself and design your own gadgets.

Searching for all of the gadgets is easy, just like you would expect from google. It is no different than searching thorugh google’s traditional search engine. Even organization and usability are easy. Simply click and drag how you want the applications to appear on the page. The site is intuitive to use.

There is a lot to gain from i-Google. It has the potential to be the ultimate one stop online homepage. You may even call it the Wal-Mart of homepages. Try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

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