Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Nigritude Ultramarine #1

Google shows this page on #1 for Nigritude Ultramarine.

It’s time I put up the competition logo for the iPod.

[SEO Challenge]

If you linked to me and did not let me know about via email yet, please do so now so I can collect your name for the first-round lottery to pass on the iPod. Note that sometimes, you get different Google results depending on where you are at, so let’s see who is awarded the prize. A big thanks to everybody helping out.


VisitorVille looks extremely interesting. It’s a web statistic visualization tool, where visitors are animated characters in a virtual city, search engines are buses delivering new visitors, buildings show traffic, and so on.

For the program to work you need to insert a snippet of HTML into pages you want to track. This snippet then contacts the central VisitorVille server, which analyzes the data and in return is contacted by the VisitorVille desktop application on your computer to visualize it – which makes the whole process real-time. At least, that is what I make of it.

Unfortunately – with subscription prices ranging from $30 to $170 per month – VisitorVille is also extremely costly, targeting companies rather than private webmasters... and there is no way to freely preview it running. [Via Gadgetopia.]

Update: I posted a longer VisitorVille review.

Wiki Sandbox Morals

[Nigritude Ultramarine]

I decided to stop posting backlinks in Wiki sandboxes, the SEO strategy previously explained.

The truth be told I do not understand why people care what is in the sandbox, as it is intended to be edited for testing purposes (which means your typical Wiki Sandbox is full of nonsense writing). But apparently some people do care. Garrett French of WebProNews compared it to guestbook spamming (he later agreed it’s not quite the same, but that was his initial response), and now Prometheus posted in the forum telling me how much he dislikes what is being done to the sandboxes.

As Nigritude Ultramarine is only a game, I will not take it into areas some people take serious.
In the meantime I’m asking developers and those hosting Wikis of their own to please exclude sandboxes from search engine results (via the robots.txt file). Doing so would shield the sandbox from backlink-postings, and there is no need for it to turn up in search results in the first place.

Google Answers Your Question

Here’s the deal: at the forum you tell which question you want to have answered at Google Answers, I choose one question and post it for $10.

WebSite Watcher

If you want to keep track of small changes on many web pages, try shareware WebSite Watcher.
After installing you create bookmarks of the pages you want to watch. You then let WebSite Watcher analyze them initially. Now after some days you select the bookmarks, press Ctrl+K, wait a minute, and changes on the individual pages will be highlighted in yellow. After 30 days of usage you are asked to register for $30.

I use WebSite Watcher on several Google pages (such as Google’s help, press releases, and so on) and it works like a charm – whenever there’s something new, I will know about it.

I have been notified of the free alternative ChangeNotes. It’s a web service which emails you when a web site changes. (Thanks Hanan.)
Gary pointed to two more web trackers: WatchThatPage and TrackEngine.

Yahoo Interview


ResourceShelf interviews Gary Flake, Head of Yahoo Research Labs.

Alexa Thumbnails

At FindForward, I’m using Thumbshots to deliver the images next to the snippet. Another interesting thumbnail server for any web site is the Alexa search engine. (As opposed to Thumbshots, I don’t know what Alexa’s policies are for other sites to use the thumbnails.)

You can use an image with the following address:

Where “” is the sample site to be changed. You can also change “medium” to “small”.

If a site’s thumbnail is not yet included, or not reflecting the page’s current design, you can use the following URL to update it:

(Again, change “” to your domain.)

Yet another thumbnail service is Girafa, but it requires installation which can be referenced like this (thanks Marek):

Why doesn’t Google use thumbnails, you may wonder? As a matter of fact they already developed the technology to do so, and tested it – but chose not to use it. (See Larry Page’s presentation.)


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!