Archive for the ‘Yahoo’ Category

Babel Fish, Google Translate and human go head-to-head

Friday, December 5th, 2008

A fun side benefit of publishing a blog and writing stories for international publications is that I occasionally come across an article I wrote that has been translated into another language. Today I discovered this article, published in Spanish, which came from my original article “10 reasons entrepreneurs should take more vacations.”

Exite sign

This led me to check out some online translation services to compare how they work head to head. I also asked someone who has a rough understanding of Spanish, but isn’t necessarily fluent in the language, to do a translation. The tools: Babel Fish, Google Translate and Free Translation Online (from Smartlink Corporation). Human translator: jack-of-all-trades co-worker, Cara Smith.

(One caveat – since I’m translating the Spanish translation back to English with this effort, it assumes that the Spanish translation was correct in the first place.)

Excerpt 1:

Original - It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish Translation – Hace tiempo que no te tomas unas vacaciones. Probablemente haga más de 6 meses desde tus últimas vacaciones (los viajes por trabajo no cuentan). Si hace más de 10 meses que no sales de vacaciones… estás en problemas!

Babel FishFor a long time you have not been taking vacations. Probably it does more than 6 months from your last vacations (the trips by work do not count). If it does more than 10 months that go out on vacations… you are not in problems!

Google TranslateNot long ago that you take a vacation. Probably make more than 6 months from your last vacation (travel for work do not count). If more than 10 months that sales did not leave … you’re in trouble!

Free Online TranslationSome time ago that you do not take a few vacation. Probably do more than 6 months from your last vacation (the trips for work do not count). If more than 10 months you do not go out of vacation … you are in problems!

HumanIt’s been a long time since you took a vacation. Probably it’s been 6 months since your last vacation (the work trips don’t count). If it’s been more than 10 months since your last vacation…that’s a problem.

Excerpt 2:

Original - It’s helpful to remind yourself why you’re working so hard. Most of us aren’t working our butts off for nothing. There is usually a dream, a goal, a vision to come at the end of it. For me, I want to be able to travel. So taking periodic vacations reminds me why I’m doing all of this.

Spanish translation - Te ayudará a recordar porque trabajas tan duro. Todos luchamos por uno o varios objetivos y unas vacaciones es el mejor método para recordarte ese porqué.

Babel Fish – It will help you to remember because you work so hard. All we fought by one or several objectives and vacations are the best method for recordarte that because.

Google Translate - Will help you remember because you work so hard. All are fighting for one or more goals and a vacation is the best method for this remind you why.

Free Online Translation - He will help you to remember because you work so hardly. We all fight for one or several targets and the best method is a few vacation to remind to you this porqué.

Human – It helps you remember why you work so hard. Everyone fights for one or various objectives and a vacation is the best method to remember that because (missing a reason here…)

Excerpt 3:

Original - Vacations are fun. At least, they should be. And if a vacation isn’t fun to you, do something that is. The point is, you need to lighten up sometimes, have a little fun, laugh, joke around, remember that everything isn’t serious and at the point of imminent collapse (which is how entrepreneurs usually feel).

Spanish translation - Las vacaciones son divertidas…. ¿Acaso la vida no está para disfrutarla?

Babel Fish - The vacations are funny…. Perhaps the life is not for enjoying it?

Google Translate – Holidays are fun …. Does life is not to enjoy?

Free Online Translation - The vacation is entertained …. Perhaps is not the life to enjoy it?

Human - Vacations are fun. Isn’t life for enjoyment?

To me, it looks like the human with moderate Spanish skills won, hands down. But if you aren’t lucky enough to sit 3 feet away from someone who is willing to indulge your translation needs, I would go with Google Translate. At least in Spanish-to-English translation, with these examples, it had a slight advantage.

Since I’m already this deep into the experiment, here’s one more test. This time, I entered the original text into the English-to-Spanish translation tool, then entered the Spanish result into the Spanish-to-English translation tool to see what would happen.

Yahoo Babel Fish logo

Original: It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish translation: Ha sido un rato largo puesto que usted ha estado en vacaciones. ¿Admítalo – cuándo la vez última que usted tardó vacaciones? Verdadero. Un viaje del trabajo no cuenta. Si ha sido más largo de 6 meses, es tiempo.

Back to English: He has been awhile long since you have been in vacations. Admítalo – when the last time that you took vacations? True. A trip of the work does not count. If he has been longer of 6 months, is time.

Google Translate

Original: It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish translation: Ha sido un largo tiempo desde que ha sido en unas vacaciones. Admítelo – cuando es la última vez que se tomó unas vacaciones? Un verdadero uno. Un viaje de trabajo no cuenta. Si han pasado más de 6 meses, es el momento.

Back to English: It has been a long time since I had been in a vacation. Admit it – when was the last time you took a vacation? A real one. A journey is not working. If it’s been more than 6 months, it’s time.

Free Online Translation logo

Original: It’s been a long time since you’ve been on a vacation. Admit it – when’s the last time that you took a vacation? A real one. A work trip doesn’t count. If it’s been longer than 6 months, it’s time.

Spanish translation: Esto ha sido mucho tiempo ya que usted ha sido durante unas vacaciones. ¿Admítalo – cuándo es la vez pasada que usted tomó unas vacaciones? Verdadero uno. Un viaje de trabajo no cuenta. Si ha sido más largo que 6 meses, esto es el tiempo.

Back to English: This has been a lot of time since you have been during a few vacation. It admit – when it is the past time that you took a few vacation? Real one. A trip of work does not count. If it has been longer than 6 months, this is the time.

The results of this second experiment are too close to call. But since I’m not strong in languages (ask me sometime about my experience taking Japanese in college), I’m thankful for each of these online translation tools. And of course, for Cara.

Photo by twinkletoez

Microsoft vs. Yahoo: And the winner is…Flickr!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

By now, everyone has heard about Microsoft’s unsolicited (and unwanted) bid to take over Yahoo. You’ve read Google’s evil(ish) response. And Microsoft’s counter. Perhaps you’ve even followed the commentary for, for, for, for, for and against, against, against, against, against the deal. And the analysis about whether it would be bad or not bad for start-ups.

My opinion: either way, everything’s going to be alright. If Yahoo is absorbed by Microsoft, the world will continue. If there are services that Yahoo offers that Microsoft eliminates, another company will build products and services to take their place. If Yahoo and Google make a deal and Microsoft is left hanging, and Google turns from the good guy to the bad guy and Microsoft starts being seen as the underdog, well, that will be weird, but it will be OK. If some third-party comes and bails out Yahoo (which is not likely at this point), things are going to be fine.

Either way, some people are going to be happy. Some people are going to be unhappy. But business will continue. Something similar happened when Adobe bought Macromedia, a deal that was bemoaned by many as the demise of good creative software. But the deal went through and there is still good creative software. There will be tough times, there will be struggles, but change sometimes fosters creativity and innovation – and both of those can be better than a company withering away on the vine, which may have been Yahoo’s fate if no one stepped in and did something.

But all of that aside, I think that the real winner in all of this hubbub is Flickr. Not Yahoo, even though they own Flickr, but Flickr itself.

I noticed early on in all the discussion about the possible Microsoft/Yahoo deal that various pundants would write an analysis of the situation and then would say something like, “No matter what happens, don’t you dare hurt my Flickr.” I commented on it, and thought it was interesting.

Then a whole movement erupted.

Currently, 2,672 Flickr users have banded together to fight Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo because they are afraid that it might hurt their Flickr. This is just one of the thousands of protest photos that have been uploaded:

Microsoft Yahoo Flickr
Photo by robsv

You don’t see users of Yahoo e-mail worrying. Yahoo Small Business services, which are popular and have a lot of users, aren’t protesting. It’s just the Flickr users.

So in my scorebook, Flickr is the winner. They built a brand that people love, and not only do they love the brand, but they are willing to fight for the company. Flickr did this by creating a service that’s easy to use, allows interaction, fosters community, and is free.

Or do you think that these Flickr users really just hate Microsoft that much?

Americas about to fall behind in information industry

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Outsell LogoIf you haven’t caught the hint yet, there is more news today that the global market is gaining in importance. According to a press release from Outsell, the information industry revenue that is generated in Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is ready to overtake North, South and Central American revenues within one to two years. And things are already heading that way. Currently, American information industry revenues are 53% of the worldwide total, with EMEA and Asia at 47%.

The other bit of information, which was buried in the middle of the release, is that during a presentation today on “The Global Industry Outlook” at Outsell’s Signature Event, Chief Analyst Leigh Watson Healy offered up Outsell’s 10 predictions for the information industry in 2008. One of note: the firm expects the next evolution of the Internet experience to be Web 3D.

Whenever a company makes a prediction, I like to see how they did with their past prophesies. If you’re interested, Outsell’s 2007 predictions are available in a free report. Some of what they suggested would happen this year has happened, but one item in particular seems to be a false reading on the market: “Google, Yahoo, MSN, publishers, advertisers and auditors will establish standardized third-party audit and certification processes to validate clicks and battle click fraud.”

So far, this hasn’t happened – but there is still a little more than a month to go before we ring in 2008.

The solution to search engine fatigue

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Internet users are tired of trying to use a search engine to find something that they want, and not finding that thing. This seems obvious, but it’s the conclusion that’s been reached following a recent survey of 1,001 U.S. adults called “State of Search.” The research was conducted by Kelton Research for Autobytel. The primary finding from the study is that 72% of searchers have “search engine fatigue” meaning that they become impatient or frustrated when they are unable to quickly find the exact information they need when using a search engine.

I’m actually surprised that the number isn’t closer to 100%.

Some statistics from the report (thanks to Search Engine Land for this information):

- 65.4% of Americans say they’ve spent two or more hours in a single sitting searching for specific information on search engines.

- When asked to name their #1 complaint about the process, 25% cited a deluge of results, 24% cited a predominance of commercial (paid) listings, 18.8% blamed the search engine’s inability to understand their keywords (forcing them to try again), and 18.6% were most frustrated by disorganized/random results.

Search Engine Land draws the conclusion that this is an argument for personalization in search, and in part it may be. But I think that these results also point to the need for comprehensive and information-rich vertical search alternatives to aid in the buying process – not as a replacement to the popular search engines, but as a supplemental tool.

The difficulty of using the popular search engines in the buying process is nothing new. This study was conducted to illustrate problems in the car-buying process, but the same issues happen in other product buying cycles, including the IT buying process. When I worked on the Web Buyer’s Guide, the goal of the site and technology that we built was to provide a better technology buying process for IT professionals. At the time, I would do a demonstration to explain to people why this type of vertical search engine was essential for the buying process – and why Google and Yahoo wouldn’t work for buyers who were trying to do the research that’s needed to make a product purchase.

I used the term “CRM” (customer relationship management) to demonstrate. First, I would type “CRM” into Google to see the results – 83,900,000. I then modified the search to CRM Products – 34,300,000. Still too many results. This is the #1 problem with search engines for the 25% of people who complained about a “deluge of results” and why, in the survey results, nearly 40% of Americans described finding the “right and relevant” information in the big search engines – Google and Yahoo – as “overwhelming and time-consuming.”

The next search that I did was with WBG’s top competitor – KnowledgeStorm, another IT product directory. For the search, I went to their CRM page and asked someone in the crowd to name a random CRM company. Different answers were given, but usually one of the top companies was named, such as Pivotal, Oracle or Salesforce.com. Typically, if I was to search for products from any of those companies in the KnowledgeStorm directory, they weren’t included in the list because they weren’t KnowledgeStorm’s paying customers. This type of situation causes two levels of frustration for users, both because all the results that are displayed are commercial (paid) listings, and because this forces buyers to go elsewhere to find a complete list of CRM products when 85% of buyers want to find a one-stop shop for everything related to their purchase.

To overcome the buying process issues that both the search engines and limited product directories have, we built a vertical directory based on technology product categories. This vertical directory included every bit of information that Ziff Davis had about each of those categories – editor reviews, articles, news, user ratings, etc. – combined with a comprehensive product directory and resource library with information from the IT vendors themselves, including white papers, videos, etc. By surrounding each technology category with all the relevant content in each category and a comprehensive product list, we allowed IT buyers to be able to get a complete view into the product that they were attempting to buy.

In the State of Search report, nearly 25% of respondents said that they actually put off purchasing a car because they found the overall car-buying process too overwhelming or frustrating. Autobytel built a vertical directory to try to solve those issues, and I think that they might have hit on a viable solution if they are able to execute.

~ Black & White ~

How to become an Internet advertiser for $5.05 (but why you should spend more!)

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007


Google AdWordsThanks to Google AdWords, it is possible to become an Internet advertiser for the incredibly low cost of $5.05 – provided you have a Web site, that is. All you have to do is to sign up for a Google AdWords account 
(there is an initial registration fee of $5.00). After you select your keywords, set the minimum spend per click to $0.05. You’ll serve your first ad – and get your first click – for a grand total of $5.05. Voila! You’re an Internet advertiser.

Of course, I’m simplifying things.

 You could technically be an Internet advertiser for that cost, but the real benefits of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising come with scale and conversion. If the # of clicks x cost-per-click = less than $ earned from conversion – you’re laughing all the way to the bank. In non-math terms, the more individuals you can get to click on your ad, at the lowest cost per click, who you then convert into customers… the more money you’re making.

The recently released IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report analyzes the Internet advertising market for the first six months of 2007 and shows that approximately 50% of second-quarter revenues were priced on a performance basis, up from 47% reported for the second quarter of 2006. Companies are increasing spend on PPC (and other forms of performance-based) advertising programs because they are measurable.

So, while Google AdWords (and its PPC sibling Yahoo Search Marketing) are a low-cost way to enter the Internet advertising market, the companies that are making a serious impact – and significant profits – from PPC advertising are those that are willing to scale and that are able to convert their visitors to customers.

(By the way, if you are looking for a play-by-play of how to set up a Google AdWords account, there is a good post at the Tech Savvy Marketer.)

~ Red Burst ~ 

Global news gives a global perspective

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

I had dinner with my friend Cara tonight, and she mentioned that she occasionally visits the Yahoo international page and looks at the news sections from around the world to see what the top stories are in other countries compared to the top story in the U.S.  She does it, she says, because it is interesting to see what other countries do and don’t care about vs. what we read about in the United States.

babelfishIt seemed like it would be an interesting thing to look at, plus, since many of the sites are in foreign languages, it was also a good way to use the Babelfish translation service (I’ve been curious to see how good a job it does). So here are the top news stories in 10 countries (plus the U.S.). All translations were done using Babelfish.

U.S.: Troops take back control in Myanmar  

U.K. & Ireland: U.N. envoy heads into Myanmar maelstrom  

Australia: Crowds taunt soldiers in Burma’s Rangoon  

Brazil: Gripe aviária pode ser transmitida de mãe para filho  
Translation: “Aviária grippe can be transmitted of mother for son”
Melissa’s translation: Mothers can pass bird flu to their children

Italy:  Iraq, cominciato il ritiro dei primi soldati Usa
Translation: “Iraq, begun the withdrawal of the first USA soldiers”

China: ??????????????
Translation: “China official gazette commercial bribe leading case”

Netherlands: Rij groener!
Translation: “File Greener!”
Melissa’s Translation: I have absolutely no idea what this means, but there was a picture of a car with the heading “Green Center” next to this headline if that helps at all.

France: Huit ans de prison dans le procès du bus incendié à Marseille
Translation: “Eight years of prison in the lawsuit of the bus set fire to in Marseilles”

Korea: ??? ????? ?? “6??? ??? ???? ???
Translation: “Song the pure Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade minister “6 person conversation written agreements which it pushes oneself who is possible $$ln”

Melissa’s Translation: Again, I have no idea what this means except possibly that Babelfish doesn’t do such a good job with translations of Korean to English?

Spain: Las potencias demoran hasta noviembre nuevas sanciones a Irán
Translation: “The powers delay until November new sanctions to Iran”

Russia: ????? ?? ????? ???????????
Translation: “Pressure in Burma is strengthened”

When I originally copied and pasted into the system that publishes my blog (WordPress) the Chinese, Korean and Russian characters displayed properly. But when I tried to save, they changed to question marks…I left it that way here on purpose to illustrate just how far we still need to go with international compatibility.

~Today’s view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/13799608@N08/1455852395/ 

The death of domain name speculation

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

There will be a point when domain name speculation as we know it will end. In its wake will remain a number of big guys – the folks like Kevin Ham and Frank Schilling who today own multi-million dollar domain portfolios and are growing their inventory daily. These guys and those like them have the money, development resources, years of experience and flexibility to adapt and change and bend with the changes of the search market and the Internet, so they will be the survivors.

Right now, much of the money with domain name speculation is made by hosting a “parked” page on every domain in the inventory – the speculators then make money on all the traffic that goes to those pages through pay-per click (PPC) advertising. Some of that traffic is accidental, some of it because people utilized “direct navigation,” typing URLs directly into the search bar. But what happens down the road when the search engines get even smarter? What happens when Google and Yahoo are able to correct misspellings on the fly? Or when consumers get savvier and learn to not click on the ads that clutter the parked pages? What happens if Google discontinues its AdSense for domains program ?  Or if a new search engine emerges that completely changes the way that search happens?

What will the new world look like? New business models are already emerging, but most of what is “new” is based on the tried-and-true media/publishing model. Richard Rosenblatt is taking his vast network of domains and turning each of them into a Web 2.0 site with user-generated “how to” contentHam’s company, Reinvent Technology, has a mission “to transform our direct navigation business into a cutting edge media company by leveraging new technology, innovative ideas, and intellectual capital.” In 2005, venture company Highland Capital Partners bought YesDirect, a holding company with 600,000 domain names. It has since launched turned that company into NameMedia, which features a product called Direct Search that turns domain names such as www.photography.com into an online community, employing an “editorial model” to create a “compelling user experience.” They also hired Kelly Conlin, former president and CEO of IDG – a media company.

As John Andrews put it in his blog, “The next wave of the competitive Internet has arrrived, and it’s driven by the Domainers. No, not parked pages, and no, not typo squatters. Domainers as publishers.”

And in case you don’t believe him, Schilling points to this post and agrees. But instead of considering this a commentary on how the domain name industry is changing, he calls the trend the “potential/catalyst to change publishing.”

 

~ Today’s view:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/13799608@N08/1412989830/