Pew Report: 5 of 6 Can't Distinguish Paid From Unpaid Search?

The Pew Internet & Americna Life Project has released a provocative report suggesting that the majority of U.S. Internet users cannot tell the different between paid and unpaid search results.

From the abstract:

Only 38% of users are aware of the distinction between paid or “sponsored” results and unpaid results. And only one in six say they can always tell which results are paid or sponsored and which are not. This finding is ironic, since nearly half of all users say they would stop using search engines if they thought engines were not being clear about how they presented paid results.

An important cavaet is that this appears to be a ‘self-reporting’  telephone survey.  Full Pew Report here.

Consumer Reports WebWatch report on best-practices for disclosure from November 2004 (and finding that search engines have much to improve on in this area), here.

Search Engine Watch coverage of the Pew Report here.

Geico v. Google discussion of how to conduct a survey to test likelihood of confusion in keyword ads here.


Adam Smith, Esq. on The Billable Hour

Not trademark law but worth reading:  Adam Smith, Esq. on The Billable Hour.


More on Google in France

News.com article on Google’s loss in France to Hotels Meridien re sale of keywords.  Google indicates that it will appeal.  Text of decision in French here.


EEC: BIOKNOWLEDGE describes Bio Knowledge.

Court of First Instance decision of ECJ holding that BIOKNOWLEDGE descriptive of scientific databases and ancillary services – BIOKNOWLEDGE not being syntactically unusual.  Via IPKat.


10% Of Whatever A Spider Can, As Defined Herein

Stan Lee prevails in lawsuit against Marvel re contractual clause giving him 10% of ‘haul’ from Spiderman profits, via NY Lawyer.


If He Doesn't Like Bloglines, Why Does He Make a RSS Feed Available?

If my major complaint with RSS was that it strips the frame from my content, then those who have posted to the effect ‘if he doesn’t like that, he should not make an RSS feed available’ would be correct.

However, as I have been making a full text RSS feed available since May of 2002, I am well aware that I, not the aggregator, am ‘stripping’ the frame.  That is not my primary concern – commercial use of my content by aggregators, specifically contextual advertising and subscription data mining without my consent, is my primary concern.

Right now, among the million bloggers, there are bird watching blogs, and anti-Michael Moore blogs, and Linux blogs.

Those bloggers do or do not view their blogs as part of a commercial pursuit, and do or do not wish to run advertising, and do or do not wish make use of information about their readership.

As far as I can tell, based on its stated intentions, the leading web-based aggregator is reserving the right to, for example, place Windows-based software ads on Linux blogs, and Anne Coulter ads on pro-Michael Moore sites, and to sell everybody’s subscription list to anyone.

All without notification or authorization by the blogger.

At least it hasn’t said otherwise in response to this brou-ha-ha.

This type of commercial use is, in my opinion, clearly copyright infringement, but since my protest is prospective in nature, people may not realize it until they see their own content serving as ‘editorial’ for someone else’s ads.  Or until a reader emails them to demand that they be taken off a mailing list the blogger didn’t know existed.

To argue that the creation of a RSS feed impliedly allows this type of uncontrolled commercial re-use is to argue that RSS strips all content of effective copyright protection.  I have not seen a compelling legal or policy argument as to why all RSS content should be public domain in this way. 

HTML content isn’t automatically public content.  The implied license is for the user’s browser to make the copy necessary to read the content.  You can’t re-purpose HTML content without consent.

As far as I can see, from a copyright point of view, the only thing different about RSS content is that the template formatting isn’t part of the work.

Regardless of whether the blogger has signed up for a CC license or whatever, he or she can prevent commercial re-use of the feed.  But should he or she?  Many posters have criticized my post not on the legal issue but as a business decision.

Maybe they’re right. 

So the question is not why, if I don’t like Bloglines, do I make a RSS feed available.

The question ought to be:

Is there a compelling business case for the blogger to waive effective commercial control of content in order so that the aggregator can make a full-text web-based feed available?

Or can aggregators accomodate bloggers who wish to maintain the non-commercial nature of their feeds?  I will guess that if Bloglines offers a commercial opt-out, its business model will still work.





France: Hotels Meridien Prevails Against Google

Text in French of decision against Google re use of MERIDIEN trademark.

No online English reporting as of yet.


How To Put A Registrar Lock On Your Domain Name

There was another high-profile domain name highjacking this weekend of NYC’s ISP PANIX.COM, whose customers apparently suffered outages of service when the domain name was apparently transferred without authorization.

ICANN has a transfer policy that was born out of the Ack v. Nack wars between registrars, which policy specifies the quality and quantity of ‘acknowledgment’ between the ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ registrars and the registrant(s).  One article suggests that the winning registrar simply didn’t follow the protocol here.

In the meanwhile, you should consider putting a ‘registrar lock’ on your domain name, which prevents this sort of thing. 

A typical FAQ on registrar lock from Go Daddy is here.

Info on Domain Protect from NSI is here.

Dot Registrar’s DomSecure is here.


Act Now To Become the .NET Registry

If you would like to take over responsibility from Verisign for running the 5 million name .NET registry, you have until midnight to submit a bid to ICANN

You may want to review the existing agreement between ICANN and Verisign before submitting your bid.


TTABlog on the Man Who Would Own Stealth

TTaBlog continues its tracking of Leo Stoller and his STEALTH portfolio.  In today’s installment, Stoller opposed the GROUND ZERO STEALTH kicking tee.