2007 – A Long Year in Review

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Posted by Jim Hedger @ 7:05 pm

I started compiling links for this piece eight hours two days ago and have since been on a interesting journey through my own memories of 2007. The online marketing industry is in one of its greatest periods of transition as enormous sums of ad-spend pour into the sector looking for places to be spent.

Many small to medium sized search marketing firms catapulted into the big leagues seemingly overnight this year as advertising firms found greater value in online and digital media than in traditional television, print and radio.

The major search engines understand where the money is going. Each acquired its own online advertising network this year in order to contextually serve content-rich advertising across as many subscribing websites as possible. The moment Google initiated the slow process of spending $3.1billion to buy DoubleClick, Yahoo and MSN had to have ad-networks too. Not having one would be like not having a paid-search advertising platform…

2007 was also the year of the Facebook. Perhaps the fastest growing social network in 2007, Facebook received a great deal of attention in the mainstream media and from online marketers. Adding two or three hundred thousands new users per month, Facebook ranks among the most popular networks online. The company faced a setback late in the year when privacy concerns forced it to withdraw and redesign its social advertising platform, Facebook Beacon.

The year was split in two as severe economic issues in the United States spread beyond the financial sector and into the everyday lives of American consumers. The first part of 2007 was exuberant and expansive, the second a bit more reluctant.

Looking back, 2007 was one of the most interesting but subtle years in the short history of online marketing. Lots of stuff happened but very little actually changed. Perhaps 2007 was the year of the set-up.
After trolling chronologically through dozens of news sources I started to see a few key trends unfolding through a year full of stories. Here are a few key words and ideas to watch for in the story references listed below.

  • China
  • Social Networks
  • Microsoft Vista
  • Google everything
  • Mobile Search
  • Web Analytics
  • Career changes for many in the industry
  • Changes in the practice of SEO
  • Google and the War on Paid-Links
  • Cloud Computing (server-side software / social-professional networking)
  • Absurd increases in online ad-spend
  • Copyright issues
  • Privacy concerns

Tomorrow and Thursday I am going to add some more stories to the list and try to find a way to connect the thoughts between pieces. No matter how many article archives I pour through, I’m going to miss a bunch that should be on this list. If anyone has suggestions, please forward them to me. (jimhedger -at- metamend.com)

Here is a list of some of the most important search marketing articles and events of 2007.
January 4

  • Google enters Chinese mobile search market by offering services to some China Mobile Ltd clients.

January 8

  • Yahoo purchases MyBlogLog reader-tracking service (Search Engine Journal)
  • Yahoo adds OneSearch to its mobile search offerings. Expands program to all US web enabled phones on March 21 (PC World)
  • NYTimes publishes “Attack of the Zombie Computers is Growing Threat” by John Markoff. (SiteProNews Blog)

January 11

January 16

  • SEO vs. PPC – The Adolecent Clique Fight (Metamend Blog)
  • comScore reports December 2006 search market share as:

Google 47.4% | Yahoo! 28.5% | MSN 10.5% | Ask 3.7%

January 21

  • Wikipedia implements NOFOLLOW attribute on all outbound links in order to prevent link-spam (Search Engine Journal)

January 24

  • Yahoo reports sharp drop in Q42006 profit. Suggests pending release of Panama PPC platform will turn fortunes around.

January 25

  • Google Evangelist and Internet grandfather Vint Cerf said BotNets have compromised up to 25% of all computers online (SiteProNews Blog)

January 27

  • Sergey Brin speaks out on Google and China censorship concerns. (Guarian.co.uk)

January 29

January 30

  • Windows Vista released. Declared a dog in months to come
  • Google moves to disarm Google Bombs, spawning dozens of new Google Bomb attempts including Stephen Colberts’ Greatest Living American campaign (ISEDB.com)

February 2

February 5

  • Yahoo Search Marketing releases long awaited “ Panama ” PPC platform. (InformationWeek)

February 7

  • Rand Fishkin proposes to finance Geraldine on network television. Creates compelling example of effects of viral video proliferation. (Search Engine Land)

February 13 – 15

February 13

February 14

  • Baidu reports 400% increase in Q4 profits over same period in 2006 (Reuters)

February 23

February 26

March 1

  • Google’s Shuman Ghosemajumder states click fraud accounts for only 0.02% of clicks (Search Engine Land)

March 5

  • Ad Agencies seen moving into search marketing space (AdWeek)
  • Enter Ogilvy – Madison Ave. Buying into SEM (Metamend Blog) Ogilvy&Mather division buys Bill Hunt’s Global Strategies International.

March 14

  • AOL announces test of local search service (PCWorld)

March 16

  • Google announces stricter privacy rules. (Foxnews.com)

March 19

  • Microsoft releases a study that suggests spam driven advertising is corrupting the search experience to the 16th annual International World Wide Web conference in Banff Alberta . (InformationWeek)

March 23

  • Kevin Federline (ex-Mister Britney Spears) releases prize-based “searchwithkevin.com” search engine (PCWorld)

March 24

  • Microsoft names Satya Nadella head of new Search and Ad Platform Group (Information Week)

March 28

  • Yahoo and Google seen as competing for mobile search market (theage.com.au)

March 29

  • Yahoo and Microsoft seen as fighting for mobile search in the face of Google’s attempts to dominate the mobile search market (InformationWeek)

March 31

April 2

  • SEOMoz.org releases 2007 Search Engine Ranking Factors Guide (SEOMoz.org)

April 10 – 13

April 11

April 13

  • Google announces plans to purchase DoubleClick for 3.1Billion. (SiteProNews.com)

April 14

  • Matt Cutts opens the Great Paid-Links debate with his “How to report paid links” post (Matt Cutts Blog)

April 18

  • Google Spreadsheets adds chart functionality
  • Google kills Froogle, replaces with Google Product Search (Search Engine Land)

April 24 – 26

April 24

  • Earth-like planet Gliese 581c found 20.5 light years away. English bookies lower odds on finding intelligent life in space from 1000/1 to 100/1.

April 30

  • Yahoo Acquires Right Media ad-exchange (SiteProNews.com)
  • iGoogle personalized search services introduced (Reuters)

May 2

May 3

  • Ask.com “Algorithm Ads” begin appearing on billboards across the United States [ed note: “The Algorithm” confused the heck out of a lot of people] (Search Engine Land)

May 4

May 7

  • Yahoo officially announces it will no longer support the Overture Keyword Inventory tool. (Search Engine Journal)
  • Rumours of Microsoft / Yahoo co-operation aboud (WSJ Marketwatch)

May 8

May 12

  • Tech Industry beats Tourism in Greater Victoria economy (Metamend Blog)

May 15

May 16

May 18

  • Google AdSense announces it will begin disabling arbitrage publisher accounts on June 1 (JenSense)
  • Fair Issac mistakenly releases report suggesting click fraud rates between 10 – 15%. Report retracted because of the limited number of data sources available for study. (Search Engine Land –w/links to several other sources)

May 23

  • Google acquires RSS management company Feedburner for $100million (TechCrunch)

May 25 – 26

  • Search Engine Strategies show held in Xiamen , China (ses.Timev.com)

May 29

May 31

  • eBay acquires stumbleUpon for $75million (Search Engine Journal)
  • In yet another search marketing bumble, Jason Calacanis launches the laughable Mahalo human powered search engine. (story with nicer headline at Search Engine Land)

June 4

  • Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman’s new conference series Search Marketing Expo holds its first show, SMX Advanced in Seattle. It was widely considered the best search marketing conference of 2007.
  • Yahoo mysteriously announces “Search is no longer the dominant paradigm” at Amsterdam Next Web conference. Comment widely interpreted to mean Yahoo is scaling back search competition with Google. (TimesOnline.co.uk)
  • Yahoo Search Marketing Launches Quality Based Pricing (Online Marketing Blog)

June 5

  • Ask.com releases its new look Ask3D search interface. Combining mapping, audio, image and clustered search results with the traditional Top10 SERPs, Ask3D is a massive leap forward in user-centered search that few people noticed. (Ask.com Blog)

June 7

  • New York Times notes the mainstreaming of Facebook (NYTimes)

June 11

  • Google China and Chinese search portal Sina partner for Search and AdWords (Search Engine Journal)
  • Deathwatch on Terry Semel’s job as CEO of Yahoo! hits mainstream press (GlobandMail.com)

June 12 – 13

June 12

June 13, 20007

  • eBay pulls advertising from Google over poorly timed plans for Google Checkout. eBay Stares Down Google and Wins (TechCrunch)

June 14

  • Vanessa Fox announces she is leaving Google. After a brief stint with Zillow.com, Vanessa has settled in as features editor at Search Engine Land and entrepreneur in residence at Seattle based VC firm Ignition Partners. (Wikipedia.org)

June 19

  • Terry Semel resigns as Yahoo CEO. Replaced by co-founder Jerry Yang. (SiteProNews.com)

June 21

  • Google VP of Engineering Udi Manber speaks at Supernova conference (ReadWriteWeb)
  • Moniker holds TRAFFIC Domain Auction in NYC (Metamend Blog)

June 25

June 26

June 27

June 29

  • The iPhone is released.

July 2

July 5

  • MarketingSherpa discontinues annual SEO/SEM Buyers’ Guides

July 7

  • Live-Earth concert series to promote information on global warming and climate change held.

July 9

  • Google buys communications security firm Postini for $625million. Buy seen as way of securing Google Doc information for online office applications.

July 17

July 18

July 18

July 19

July 31

August 6

  • iPhone hacked by New Jersey teenager George Hotz.

August 7

  • More issues with Ask.com series of TV ads which are confirmed creepy, weird, bizarre and entirely ineffective in US. (Marketing Pilgrim)

August 9

  • Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media releases her second book on Yahoo Search Marketing, “Mastering Panama” (Page Zero Media)
  • AT&T’s “live” coverage of Chicago Lollapalooza concert censors part of a Pearl Jam show (Wired Magazine), becomes shining example in Net Neutrality debate.
  • Accusations of corruption at Wikipedia (SiteProNews.com)

August 13

August 14

  • Wired provides conclusive coverage of Wikipedia tampering stories (Wired)
  • Google enters “Health-Engine War” with Google Health (Google Blogoscoped)

August 16

August 20 – 23

August 29

August 30

  • Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Center (VIATeC) Charity Golf Tournament at Bear Mountain – Team Enquisite came 4th after nearly killing Metamend presidents Todd Hodge and Glenn Convey with a long drive.

September 3

September 4

September 5

September 7

  • US Department of Justice says NO to Net Neutrality (Metamend Blog)

September 10

  • Wall St. Journal reports Yahoo considered outsourcing paid-search business to Google! (Wall St. Journal)
  • Google purchases Capgemini to standardize Google Apps. (Metamend Blog)

September 11

September 18

  • Google Presentations added to Google’s faux-Office suite to compete with Microsoft PowerPoint

September 18

September 20

September 25

  • Halo3 released realizing $170million in sales in first 24-hours. Video games entrenched as #1 home entertainment purchase option.

September 27

  • AskCity begins delivering discounts from IAC sister company Entertainment Publications (Ask.com Blog)

October 5

  • Metamend @ MIT : Metamend sponsors MIT Sloan Sales Club (Metamend Blog)

October 8

  • Google stock passes $600 per share
  • Google and IBM tap US Universities to foster and develop “cloud computing” (server-side software) research (NYTimes)

October 11

  • Search Engine Market Share (global, August07)
    Google – 60.7% | Yahoo – 14% | Baidu – 5.3% | MSN – 3.5% | NHN – 3.3% | eBay – 2.1% | AOL – 1.9% | Ask – 1.2% | Fox – 1.1% | Lycos – 0.7% (Metamend Blog)

October 12

  • Former US Vice President Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

October 15

October 16 – 17

October 18

  • Chinese government blocks US search engines, redirects search traffic to Baidu (Search Engine Land)

October 24

  • Microsoft buys 1.6% share of Facebook for $240million

October 26

  • Google’s October Surprise :: Paid-Link Pagerank Shuffle (Metamend Blog)

October 31

November 1

  • Google organizes the Open Social network for social media applications not named Facebook. Founding partners include Engage, Friendster, LinkedIn, Orkut, Xing, Plaxo, Salesfoce, SixApart and Hi5. (Metamend Blog)

November 5

  • Writers Guild of America strike begins
  • Google releases Android cell phone platform to support the Open Handset Alliance.
  • IAC announces it will break the company into five separately traded public companies. IAC will retain most of its properties directly related to the Internet but spin off names such as Ticketmaster, HSN (Cornerstone Brands), VacationSource.com, Lending Tree and RealEstate.com. (Press release at Yahoo Finance)

November 7

November 15

November 18

  • Epiar throws an epic party in Edmonton (Epiar.com)

November 27

December 3 – 7

December 4 – 7

December 12

  • Rogers Communications caught altering web-pages to deliver sponsored messages to subscribers. Bonus fun: Alteration leads to Rogers placing Yahoo logo on the Google homepage. (Metamend Blog)

December 13

December 19

December 20

  • Google acquisition of DoubleClick approved by FTC (Bloomberg.com)

2 Comments »

  1. Nice breakdown of the year Jim!

    Comment by Jaan Kanellis — Tuesday, December 18, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  2. Nice recap, Jim! I was, however, surprised to see that Rand “proposed to finance” Geraldine. Kind of takes the romance out of it but OK, I need to know, what kind of valuation did they do Series A at?

    Comment by Andrew Goodman — Thursday, December 20, 2007 @ 6:50 am

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