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Startupbin

Blog about the web and startups, from Finland. By Timo Paloheimo

Open Facebook Search has a new name: Open Status Search

Open Facebook Search has reached an important milestone. Thanks to the brave ongoing efforts of Ethel from Facebook’s legal department, I too received a “Notice of Trademark Infringement”. It was a monument of legalese which stated that using the word “facebook” in the domain infringes on their trademark. Which I guess it does, whatever, not going to have any sleepless nights over this.

So I had to change the domain and I changed the name of the site too. It is now called Open Status Search and can be found at the handy URL http://openstatussearch.com. (Doesn’t quite have the SEO appeal of its predecessor, does it…)

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Embed Facebook Searches Anywhere

ofbs-embed

Open Facebook Search – my newest project – is developing rapidly. Since the launch a few days ago, it has received some nice coverage on blogs, the biggest being Inside Facebook and ReadWriteWeb. Today I’m very proud to announce that now on Open Facebook Search you can now embed any search results to any web page.

Go to Open Facebook Search.

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Open Facebook Search – Search Facebook public timeline outside Facebook

Open Facebook Search

UPDATE  17 MAY 2011: The service is no more called Open Facebook Search. It is now called Open Status Search, thanks to Facebook’s ace legal team. Read more.

Facebook launched their new open Graph API last week, and most of the attention has been towards how Facebook will be gathering massive amounts of new data through Social Plugins and how they are going to utilize it.

A very interesting thing also was launched at the same time, namely the Open Graph API. What developers and users have not quite realized yet is, that now there is a way to search the public timeline of Facebook, without logging in to Facebook.

This opens up whole new possibilities for developers to create totally new services on top of Facebook’s data. The first service to utilize this was likebutton.me, and while i was using it, I realized that they had managed to create a way to search these public records.

I though this idea could be taken further, so for the past day I’ve been working really hard (It’s not that hard really, but I’m not a fast coder) to create the first search engine for Facebook’s public timeline – Open Facebook Search.

The service is still quite much in beta, but I wanted to launch it to the world as quickly as possible. So, take a look at the brand new service: Open Facebook Search.

UPDATE: The site has gotten some nice coverage on Inside Facebook & ReadWriteWeb

UPDATE: Now you can embed all searches to any website. Read more.

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Google’s Margin On AdSense Clicks: 21%

Google announced their third quarter results yesterday. (more on the subject on Techmeme) From the information in the press release everyone can count the margin they are making from AdSense, their advertising platform for external sites (such as this one).

Adsense revenue for Q3 was $1.45 billion. From this amount, Google paid to AdSense partners $1.33Billion. Thus their (average) margin for AdSense is 20.83%, which is slightly higher than the Q2 margin 20.48%.

The increase in the margin comes from either: 1) they charge more from advertisers or 2) pay less to the AdSense partners. Which is it? As my Adsense revenue is marginal, I cannot tell fro myself. Do you have any further information on this? Please comment below.

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100000 Visits To Google Minus Google

Six weeks ago I read an article in the NYT about Google becoming a media company. I wanted to contribute to the discussion about Google emphasizing their own sites in search results. So I created Google minus Google, a search engine that uses Google to get the search results, but filters out all links to Google-owned sites.

The site has found quite an audience and yesterday Google minus Google reached 100000 visits, which is a whole lot more than I thought of when creating the service.

The visits come from around 80 thousand or so unique users and in total there has been more than 128 thousand searches. After all of the huge PR the service got (NYT, Lifehacker, CNET, the Register, Nu.nl and more than 300 blogs), the daily number of visitors has declined, but the usage per user has been increasing all the way.

It’s not a surprise that many people who enter the site for the first time have tried it if the service really works, therefore most of the top searches relate to Google. In total there have been 55 000 different queries. It’s interesting that a huge portion of those are names, which could mean that people are really interested only in themselves.

20 most popular queries on Google minus Google

google 3652
youtube 3182
test 1140
knol 615
lol 325
gmail 231
porn 211
you tube 164
orkut 163
riemurasia 155
video 126
sex 124
diet coke and mentos 120
blogger 119
novophone 106
miseta.net 91
nu 87
“armeense genocide” 86
maps 83
asd 80

Please try Google minus Google, if you haven’t tried it before.

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Google minus Google v2 launched

Google minus Google, a search engine that lets you Search with Google without getting results from Google sites such as Knol, Blogger and YouTube has become an unexpected hit. After the launch on Monday thousands of people from all over the world have used the tool and it has been a topic in numerous blog posts and discussions on Friendfeed.

After the launch, several people have suggested that I should have used Google Custom Search (cse) to do the job. After some hard detective work I have swithed to CSE. Detective work – you ask? Yes, the reason for my initial solution to just use the basic Google search engine and remove the google sites in the query (using “-site:google.com etc”) was not technical. I needed to gather all the domains Google owns before I could use cse.** The list of Google domains in the exclude list of Google minus Google contains more than 2500 domain names. And it needed some work to compile. I’m sure I have missed something, though.

Enjoy the new and more useful version two of Google minus Google.

** For you techies out there: cse doesn’t allow wildcard usage in the top level domain (like google.*), but it can be used in the normal query.

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Google Minus Google: Google Search Results Without Content From Google

Inspired by an article in NYT about Google becoming a media company, I decided that something had to be done. So I created a way to Search with Google without getting results from Google sites such as Knol, Blogger and YouTube.

The result is Google minus Google.

UPDATE: Google minus Google has gotten a huge start: 3000 visitors in the first day! The visitors came mainly through a few Finnish IT news sites: Digitoday, that interviewed me this morning, IT-Viikko and Tietoviikko. I’ve also updated the filters to include some Google domains: Jaiku, Gmail and Blogspot

UPDATE 2: Version 2 of the launched. Now built with Google Custom Search Engine.

UPDATE 3: Miguel Helft continued the original story in the New York Times blog with an article about Google minus Google. He had received a statement from Google: “For years, users have been able to customize their experience via the advanced search feature within web search, and we welcome all efforts that help deliver useful information and expand user choice.” So I guess I’m of the hook for now.

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The Key To Succesful Startup PR: Build Trust Before You Need It

Brian Solis wrote a profound article on TechCrunch called PR Secrets for Startups. He lists many good tips all startups should know about public relations, including Understand You’re Not the Only Story in Town, Don’t Launch on Mondays and Measure Success, Not Traffic.

Many of his advice are very important for startups, where ever they are coming from. Solis writes about the role of the founder in attending and creating conversations and making contacts all the time.

As Solis points out, blogging is one natural way for a founder to get into the conversation. He should comment on other blogs and write articles that link back to his own or company blog. He should of course make contacts with journalists and bloggers at conferences and other networking events. Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, contacts should be made and the reputation built before they are needed.

One good example of Finnish startups that are active commentators on blogs and have a good blog of their own are they guys of Scred. I see their comments often at places like TechCrunch and Arctic Startup. But I believe that they could be even more active in their own blog. Other Finnish startups should definitely do the same.

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Biggest Barrier For Startups: User Experience

Mukund Mohan wrote a great little article on the new barriers to adoption for your startup. These barriers have to do with the user experience and what are the minimum standards that the users expect. Of course the user expects the user experience of Google and the like.

The new barriers are:

  1. Application better work super FAST
  2. Instant gratification
  3. Allows users to make mistakes but still works
  4. Make the first impression seamless

These are difficult to overcome and a lot of startups fail to reach these goals and the users will punish them by never coming back. This doesn’t mean that they should not try, on the contrary. The user experience is what matters in determining the success of startups..

Read the whole article: the new barriers to adoption for your startup.

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Startups from Finland: VerticeTree Creates Business From of Social Networks

VerticeTree logo VerticeTree is a Finnish startup founded in October 2007 that offers “Research, technology and consulting for online and mobile social networks”.

Their offering is divided into three areas: Network analysis and visualization (Analyzing and visualizing your most valuable customers in social networks), Advertising experiments (pretesting of advertising -which is nothing new – and Facebook apps) and Social targeting of advertising which sounds somewhat similar what Facebook does with its Newsfeed and Beacon.

So far VerticeTree has created PlayFinland, which is a community (web site and a Facebook group) for the Finnish Game industry funded by Tekes and an interesting Facebook experiment on the network of one apps users. What VerticeTree is doing is very interesting and I’m really looking forward in hearing more from these guys in the future.

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