Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Free Samples

If you enter “get (a | your) free sample” into Google you can find a lot of web sites where you can submit your home address to receive goodies. Here is a selection of things to get (most sites are US-only):

Snow Writings

Now you can write your name in the snow. Or anything else, really. [Via J-Walk.]

Jamba Meme in German Blogspace

Germany has got its own blog scandal – well, sort of.

It all started with an article at the German weblog Spreeblick (“river view”). The article by Johnny Häusler from Berlin described the dubious methods of German ring-tone sellers Jamba, and it did so in the simplistic explanatory style of a popular German kids show.

A little background: Jamba sells ring-tones on TV. They are targetting kids and teens with spots of 3D animals singing happy tunes, or pop songs taken from the music charts. When you like the tune you can order it for your cell phone by sending an SMS. What you may not know (unless you read the fine-print) is that you will now have a monthly subscription to the service. So not only is advertising on all German music channels completely polluted with annoying TV spots, thousands of kids are paying the Jamba guys Marc, Oliver and Alexander with their pre-paid cards 5 Euro per month – possibly without knowing. In other words, it’s big business.

The Spreeblick article got heavily linked, emailed and discussed by German bloggers. So much that quickly, it jumped up the Google-ranking when you entered “Jamba” (it’s currently still on number 3). And the article soon sparked another scandal. There were quite a number of pro-Jamba views posted at Spreeblick (“If you can’t read the ToS or understand the word ’subscription’, you shouldn’t have a cell phone in the first place”), but after a while it turned out all these comments came from the same IP – they were all by Jamba employees!

But it didn’t stop there, and this particular meme started to enter mainstream media as well. Also, the story made it outside the German borders and into other countries. Today the hype culminates in a story from Germany’s most popular news website, Jan Schmidt of University Bamberg is quoted to say “What happened here is a sign the German blogosphere reached a critical mass.”

After the pointer, the Spreeblick blog is down from the high traffic and only displays a static version of the original Jamba article.

Jamba in the meantime, confronted with massive negative PR, says it employs a new strategy: duck and cover ’till it’s over.

Two Degrees of Backlinks

The revised Link Cosmos tool will now not only display recent links to your blog, but also the links to the blogs linking to you. (Note you can always access the tool from the input box in the lower left of this blog.)

Blog URL:

More Unsecured Webcams

Recently redesigned BoingBoing posts an update on how to find unsecured webcams. A new search variant is inurl:"view/index.shtml” (with especially high framerates).

In the meantime Tiago S. sent in this webcam he found. Tiago says “It’s possible to see lakes, gardens and people walking and driving” and wonders which country this is.


Very nice – CNN now has RSS feeds:

You can take a look at all the stories at the new CNN page.

[Via Rubel/ Crank.]

Google Search Highlighting Patent

Google receives a patent for highlighting search terms in web documents. (They do that with their Google Cache, and the Internet Explorer Google Toolbar.) And as the patent office puts it, this excludes others than Google Inc “from making, using, or selling the invention in the United States.” Software patents sure seem silly.

When Google AdWords Go Wrong

A slightly dubious eBay ad. [Via Zadowny.]

Six Apart Buys LiveJournal

Six Apart, the company behind Movable Type and TypePad, acquired blogging service LiveJournal. This should make them stronger competitors to Google’s

KnowStory (German)

KnowStory is a German-language Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game implemented in my QML.


You might have come acrosss, which looks like it has a PageRank 10, but doesn’t. But how exactly is it implemented?

Google Mystery Image 3

Who or what is this I found on Google Images? Email me your answer (subject “Google Mystery Image 3”), as well as your homepage and name as you want them to appear here if you win. (Deadline’s tomorrow, and I’ll play lottery if I get more than a single correct answer.)

Google’s Supplemental Result

[Search for "wweew ew"]

What are “Supplemental Results” Google is displaying ever so often? (I first mentioned them in August 2003.)


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