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Don’t get caught up in social media weather hype

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It is that time of year that winter forecasts start getting shared on social media. While some of it can be true, it’s important to remember that forecasts change and you need to stay with local media outlets to get the latest information.

When forecast models are shared on Facebook or Twitter, many times it is only ONE possible outcome of MANY.

FOX23 Meteorologist Michael Seger explains why we shouldn’t RELY on that one possible outcome.

The FOX23 Severe Weather Team digs through every possible outcome and looks at the terrain of Green Country to determine the best likely scenario.

Just remember, if you see a social media post of an incoming snowstorm more than 7 days out – don’t panic! Check-in with your FOX23 Severe Weather Team to get the latest information and an understanding of the many possible outcomes.

Even when FOX23 News is not on, you can get the latest information from the entire FOX23 Severe Weather Team by following them on social media. Each meteorologist has their own Facebook page you can follow by clicking on their picture.

  • Impeachment of Donald Trump: Pelosi names impeachment managers

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers Wednesday ahead of an expected vote to send articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate. The proposed impeachment managers were identified as House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, House Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Sylvia Garcia and Rep. Jason Crow. The House will vote later Wednesday to approve of the managers, fund the trial and transmit the articles to the Senate. Update 10:55 a.m. EST Jan. 15: President Donald Trump slammed Democrats on Wednesday morning as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named the lawmakers who would serve as impeachment managers during the president’s anticipated trial in the senate. “Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” Trump wrote. “All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!” Democrats have asked for witnesses to be called as part of the Senate trial, though Republicans have indicated they won’t call for new testimony. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said calling witnesses falls under the House’s purview and not the Senate’s, according to CNN. Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan. 15: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she chose the seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate based on how comfortable they were likely to be in a courtroom. She said Wednesday “the emphasis is on litigators.” “The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people,” Pelosi said. Update 10:15 a.m. EST Jan. 15: Pelosi named seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers: House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, House Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Sylvia Garcia and Rep. Jason Crow. Original report: Pelosi announced plans Tuesday to choose impeachment managers, who will be tasked with prosecuting the case against Trump, the next necessary step in the impeachment process. The House voted last month to impeach Trump on charges of abuse and obstruction, but since then Pelosi has resisted calls to release the articles to the Senate. The California Democrat has said that members of her party need more information on the proposed rules of the Senate trial to inform her decision on who to put forth as impeachment managers. “I’ll send them over when I’m ready. And that will probably be soon,” Pelosi told reporters last week. ‘We want to see what (Senate Republicans are) willing to do and the manner in which they will do it.’ House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry after learning of a whistleblower complaint filed in August by an official concerned about Trump’s attempts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. In a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked his counterpart to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden while holding up military aide for Ukraine. A Ukrainian gas company had hired Hunter Biden when his father was vice president and the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Pelosi names seven Democrats to lead case in Trump impeachment trial

    Four weeks after the House approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named a team of seven Democrats to lead the prosecution’s case in a Senate impeachment trial, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “The emphasis is on litigators.  The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom,” Pelosi told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.  “The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to defend and protect the Constitution,” Pelosi added. Here is the list of the impeachment managers: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Schiff led the impeachment hearings and is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Speaker Pelosi said Schiff will serve as the lead manager. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). Nadler is the head of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). A former police chief in Orlando, Florida, Demings serves on both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO). A lawyer and Army Ranger who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Crow won a GOP seat in the Denver suburbs in 2018. He was not involved in any of the impeachment hearings, and is the only impeachment manager who is not from a safe-Democratic seat. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). The head of the House Democratic Caucus, Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). A veteran Democrat who was a staffer during the Nixon impeachment investigation, and also served during the Clinton impeachment. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). Garcia is a freshman Democrat from the Houston area, and former judge. She is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

  • Russian government resigns, reports say

    The Russian government resigned Wednesday, according to multiple reports. Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev announced the resignations after the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, delivered his yearly state-of-the-union address, RT reported. In a meeting of ministers after the resignations, Putin thanked Medvedev’s government, CNBC reported citing state news agency TASS. “For my part, I also want to thank you for everything that was done at this stage of our joint work, I want to express satisfaction with the results that have been achieved,” Putin said. “Not everything was done, but everything never works out in full.’ Check back for updates to this developing story.

  • New documents released about work by Giuliani, associates in Ukraine

    As the Congress inched closer to the start of a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, new evidence emerged on Tuesday night related to actions in Ukraine by the President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, including electronic messages which seemingly involved people tracking the movements of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was the target of allies of the President. The materials released by the House Intelligence Committee came from Lev Parnas, a business associated of Giuliani who was arrested on October 9, 2019, just before he was to board a flight to Austria. Parnas was later charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. election campaigns. Along with text messages, the Parnas information included handwritten items on notepads from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Vienna, which seemingly were related to the genesis of the Ukraine investigation involving President Trump’s May 25 phone call with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. ‘Get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated,’ one note says. Also included in the release was a letter from Giuliani to Zelensky. In the letter, Giuliani says he is the ‘private counsel’ for President Trump, and asks for a half-hour to meet with the Ukraine leader, but does not reveal the subject matter. That letter was dated 15 days before President Trump’s ‘perfect’ call with the leader of Ukraine, where Mr. Trump asked Zelensky to look into ‘the Bidens.’ The materials made public on Tuesday also included electronic messages involving Robert Hyde, a GOP candidate for Congress in Connecticut, who seemed to have been involved in some type of surveillance and tracking of then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch was the target of what she later described as a ‘smear campaign’ started by Giuliani, which ultimately led to her ouster as Ambassador. In the newly-released messages from late March of 2019 – just as a media campaign against Yovanovitch was underway – Hyde said he was surprised the President ‘hasn’t fired this bitch.’ Over the next few days, Hyde messages that Yovanovitch is ‘next to the embassy,’ ‘Not in the embassy,’ and seemingly gives detailed updates on what the Ambassador has been doing.  ‘She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off,’ one message from March 25, 2019 reads. ‘They will let me know when she’s on the move,’ another message reads, not indicating who the ‘They’ is. With the consent of federal prosecutors in New York, the attorney for Lev Parnas said the information had been shared with the House Intelligence Committee, which then forwarded the materials to the House Judiciary Committee. The notes quickly attracted the attention of Democrats. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said on Twitter, “these notes are legitimately insane and damning and hard to fathom.”

  • Cherokee Chief Hoskin: Stitt “misleading” Oklahomans

    Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. fired back at comments made by Governor Kevin Stitt about the state’s Indian gaming compact Tuesday. In the morning, Gov. Stitt appeared on the KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter to discuss the first year of his administration (you can hear the entire conversation HERE). The topic of his dispute with the tribes over the gaming compact came up, and he stated that his office possessed copies of letters from Oklahoma tribes indicating that like him, they believed the gaming compact expired on January 1, 2020. Hoskin told KRMG that actually there were two such letters, sent years ago, both of which had since been disavowed by the tribes in question. [Hear the KRMG In Depth Report with Chief Hoskin HERE, or click on the audio player below] He also disputed the governor’s claim that his nation operates a casino in Arkansas, where it pays a much higher rate than it pays in Oklahoma. Hoskins said the Cherokee Nation does not operate in Arkansas, although they’re competing for one of only four casino licenses available in that state. Moreover, he argues with the governor’s basic premise for the entire dispute. “At the end of the day, we’ve always been willing to talk about rates,” Hoskin told KRMG. “The governor’s misleading people if he says we’re not.” Because of how differently Arkansas operates gaming, he said, it’s an “apples and oranges” comparison to gauge the tribe’s Oklahoma operations. He expressed optimism that the governor will eventually sit down and negotiate exclusivity fees, as is allowed under the current compact. “No one is going to negotiate with a phony deadline over their heads, and they’re not going to negotiate with threats being made,” he told KRMG. “We’re just not going to do it.”

Washington Insider

  • Pelosi names seven Democrats to lead case in Trump impeachment trial

    Four weeks after the House approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named a team of seven Democrats to lead the prosecution’s case in a Senate impeachment trial, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “The emphasis is on litigators.  The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom,” Pelosi told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.  “The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to defend and protect the Constitution,” Pelosi added. Here is the list of the impeachment managers: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Schiff led the impeachment hearings and is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Speaker Pelosi said Schiff will serve as the lead manager. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). Nadler is the head of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). A former police chief in Orlando, Florida, Demings serves on both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO). A lawyer and Army Ranger who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Crow won a GOP seat in the Denver suburbs in 2018. He was not involved in any of the impeachment hearings, and is the only impeachment manager who is not from a safe-Democratic seat. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). The head of the House Democratic Caucus, Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). A veteran Democrat who was a staffer during the Nixon impeachment investigation, and also served during the Clinton impeachment. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). Garcia is a freshman Democrat from the Houston area, and former judge. She is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

  • New documents released about work by Giuliani, associates in Ukraine

    As the Congress inched closer to the start of a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, new evidence emerged on Tuesday night related to actions in Ukraine by the President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, including electronic messages which seemingly involved people tracking the movements of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was the target of allies of the President. The materials released by the House Intelligence Committee came from Lev Parnas, a business associated of Giuliani who was arrested on October 9, 2019, just before he was to board a flight to Austria. Parnas was later charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. election campaigns. Along with text messages, the Parnas information included handwritten items on notepads from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Vienna, which seemingly were related to the genesis of the Ukraine investigation involving President Trump’s May 25 phone call with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. ‘Get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated,’ one note says. Also included in the release was a letter from Giuliani to Zelensky. In the letter, Giuliani says he is the ‘private counsel’ for President Trump, and asks for a half-hour to meet with the Ukraine leader, but does not reveal the subject matter. That letter was dated 15 days before President Trump’s ‘perfect’ call with the leader of Ukraine, where Mr. Trump asked Zelensky to look into ‘the Bidens.’ The materials made public on Tuesday also included electronic messages involving Robert Hyde, a GOP candidate for Congress in Connecticut, who seemed to have been involved in some type of surveillance and tracking of then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch was the target of what she later described as a ‘smear campaign’ started by Giuliani, which ultimately led to her ouster as Ambassador. In the newly-released messages from late March of 2019 – just as a media campaign against Yovanovitch was underway – Hyde said he was surprised the President ‘hasn’t fired this bitch.’ Over the next few days, Hyde messages that Yovanovitch is ‘next to the embassy,’ ‘Not in the embassy,’ and seemingly gives detailed updates on what the Ambassador has been doing.  ‘She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off,’ one message from March 25, 2019 reads. ‘They will let me know when she’s on the move,’ another message reads, not indicating who the ‘They’ is. With the consent of federal prosecutors in New York, the attorney for Lev Parnas said the information had been shared with the House Intelligence Committee, which then forwarded the materials to the House Judiciary Committee. The notes quickly attracted the attention of Democrats. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said on Twitter, “these notes are legitimately insane and damning and hard to fathom.”

  • Democrats ready Wednesday vote to name impeachment trial prosecutors

    After delaying the move to send a pair of impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate, Democrats announced today that the House would vote Wednesday to approve a slate of impeachment ‘managers’ for the case against the President, a move which will trigger the start of a historic impeachment trial. ‘In America, no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States of America,’ said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). In a closed door meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not reveal the names of the House prosecution team, as most expect Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to lead the House managers in the Senate trial. Once the House approves the names of the trial managers, then the impeachment papers will finally be walked across the Capitol, and presented to the Senate. As Democrats set out their next steps in the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was again knocking the idea that an impeachment trial of President Trump should have extra witnesses who were not a part of the House inquiry. “If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor, as GOP leaders have tried to dissuade Republicans from joining with Democrats to call extra witnesses. But there do seem to be Republicans willing to do just that, especially when it comes to testimony from President Trump’s former National Security Adviser, who labeled the hold on military aid for Ukraine a ‘drug deal.’ “I would like there to be witnesses, and to be able to hear from someone like John Bolton,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). At some point, the Senate will have to vote on whether to call certain witnesses – 51 Senators is all it would take to authorize testimony from a specific individual. Democrats cast it as a choice between a fair trial, and a cover up. In a statement issued later on Tuesday morning, the Speaker confirmed the House would act on Wednesday. ‘The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial,’ Pelosi said in a written statement.  ‘The President and the Senators will be held accountable.”

  • AG Barr presses Apple to help open phones of Pensacola NAS gunman

    As the Justice Department announced Monday that a December mass shooting by a member of the Saudi air force was a ‘terrorist act,’ U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a public plea to Apple to help unlock the phones of the shooter, in order to further explore the gunman’s motivations and any possible contacts. ‘We have asked Apple for their help in unlocking the shooter’s iPhones,’ Barr said at a Justice Department news conference about the attack at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. ‘So far Apple has not given us any substantive assistance.’ Barr said even with a court order, the feds are not able to crack into the suspects iPhones without the password, a situation which is presenting itself with increasing frequency for law enforcement investigators. ‘We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks,’ Barr said. Barr said the investigation revealed that the shooter, Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force, actually put one of his phones on the ground during his shooting rampage in order to damage it. ‘During the gunfight with first responders, the shooter disengaged long enough to place one of the phones on the floor and shoot a single round into the device,’ Barr said. The Attorney General told reporters that Alshamrani’s other phone had also been damaged, but that the feds had been able to get both devices to work – but could not crack them open because of the password barrier.

  • Three weeks before Iowa Caucuses, Booker drops out

    Unable to break out of the bottom tier of candidates in the race for the Democratic Party nomination for President, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced Monday that he was ending his bid for the White House, just three weeks before the first votes are to be cast in the Iowa Caucuses. ‘I’ve made the hard decision to suspend my campaign for President,’ Booker told supporters in an email, as he announced that he is suspending his campaign. While Booker has maintained an active campaign schedule, his poll numbers nationally have been in low single digits for months, as he has been unable to qualify for recent debates, making it even more difficult for him to attract support. Six Democrats will debate on Tuesday in the final Iowa debate – but Booker was not going to be on the stage. Booker had tried hard in recent weeks to continue organizing in Iowa as he made campaign stops around the Hawkeye State. ‘If you’re interested in volunteering with our campaign—everything from calling voters from home to knocking doors in Iowa—please join our team!’ Booker’s campaign tweeted over the weekend. “I can’t wait to get back on the campaign trail,” Booker said, as he vowed to strongly support his party’s nominee.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

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Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

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Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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Survey says: Amazon, Google more trusted with your personal data than Apple is

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survey-says:-amazon,-google-more-trusted-with-your-personal-data-than-apple-is-–-phonearena
 

MacRumors reveals that more people feel better with their personal data in the hands of Amazon and Google than Apple’s. Companies that the public really doesn’t trust when it comes to their personal data include Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

The survey asked over 1,000 internet users in the U.S. how much they trusted certain companies such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon to handle their user data and browsing activity responsibly.

Amazon and Google are considered by survey respondents to be more trustworthy than Apple

Those surveyed were asked whether they trusted these firms with their personal data “a great deal,” “a good amount,” “not much,” or “not at all.” Respondents could also answer that they had no opinion about a particular company. 18% of those polled said that they trust Apple “a great deal” which topped the 14% received by Google and Amazon.

However, 39% said that they trust Amazon  by “a good amount” with Google picking up 34% of the votes in that same category. Only 26% of those answering said that they trust Apple by “a good amount.” The first two responses, “a great deal” and “a good amount,” are considered positive replies for a company. “Not much” and “not at all” are considered negative responses.

By adding up the scores in the positive categories,

Apple tallied a score of 44% (18% said it trusted Apple with its personal data “a great deal” while 26% said it trusted Apple “a good amount”). But that placed the tech giant third after Amazon’s 53% and Google’s 48%. After Apple, Microsoft finished fourth with 43%, YouTube (which is owned by Google) was fifth with 35%, and Facebook was sixth at 20%.

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Rounding out the remainder of the nine firms in the survey, Instagram placed seventh with a positive score of 19%, WhatsApp was eighth with a score of 15%, and TikTok was last at 12%.

Looking at the scoring for the two negative responses (“not much,” or “not at all”), Facebook had a combined negative score of 72% making it the least trusted company in the survey. TikTok was next at 63% with Instagram following at 60%. WhatsApp and YouTube were both in the middle of the pact at 53% followed next by Google and Microsoft at 47% and 42% respectively. Apple and Amazon each had the lowest combined negative scores at 40% each.

74% of those surveyed called targeted online ads invasive

The survey also found that a whopping 82% of respondents found targeted online ads annoying and 74% called them invasive. Just 27% found such ads helpful. This response doesn’t exactly track the 62% of iOS users who have used Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature to opt-out of being tracked while browsing websites and using apps. The tracking allows third-party firms to send users targeted ads online which is something that they cannot do to users who have opted out.

The 38% of iOS users who decided not to opt out of being tracked might have done so because they find it convenient to receive targeted ads about a certain product that they looked up online. But is ATT actually doing anything?

Marketing strategy consultant Eric Seufert said last summer, “Anyone opting out of tracking right now is basically having the same level of data collected as they were before. Apple hasn’t actually deterred the behavior that they have called out as being so reprehensible, so they are kind of complicit in it happening.”

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The Financial Times says that iPhone users are being lumped together by certain behaviors instead of unique ID numbers in order to send targeted ads. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says that the company is working to rebuild its ad infrastructure “using more aggregate or anonymized data.”

Aggregated data is a collection of individual data that is used to create high-level data. Anonymized data is data that removes any information that can be used to identify the people in a group.

When consumers were asked how often do they think that their phones or other tech devices are listening in to them in ways that they didn’t agree to, 72% answered “very often” or “somewhat often.” 28% responded by saying “rarely” or “never.”

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Google’s John Mueller on Brand Mentions via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s John Mueller was asked if “brand mentions” helped with SEO and rankings. John Mueller explained, in detail, how brand mentions are not anything used at Google.

What’s A Brand Mention?

A brand mention is when one website mentions another website. There is an idea in the SEO community that when a website mentions another website’s domain name or URL that Google will see this and count it the same as a link.

Brand Mentions are also known as an implied link. Much was written about this ten years ago after a Google patent that mentions “implied links” surfaced.

There has never been a solid review of why the idea of “brand mentions” has nothing to do with this patent, but I’ll provide a shortened version later in this article.

John Mueller Discussing Brand Mentions

John Mueller Brand Mentions

John Mueller Brand Mentions

Do Brand Mentions Help With Rankings?

The person asking the question wanted to know about brand mentions for the purpose of ranking. The person asking the question has good reason to ask it because the idea of “brand mentions” has never been definitively reviewed.

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The person asked the question:

“Do brand mentions without a link help with SEO rankings?”

Google Does Not Use Brand Mentions

Google’s John Mueller answered that Google does not use the “brand mentions” for any link related purpose.

Mueller explained:

“From my point of view, I don’t think we use those at all for things like PageRank or understanding the link graph of a website.

And just a plain mention is sometimes kind of tricky to figure out anyway.”

That part about it being tricky is interesting.

He didn’t elaborate on why it’s tricky until later in the video where he says it’s hard to understand the subjective context of a website mentioning another website.

Brand Mentions Are Useful For Building Awareness

Mueller next says that brand mentions may be useful for helping to get the word out about a site, which is about building popularity.

Mueller continued:

“But it can be something that makes people aware of your brand, and from that point of view, could be something where indirectly you might have some kind of an effect from that in that they search for your brand and then …obviously, if they’re searching for your brand then hopefully they find you right away and then they can go to your website.

And if they like what they see there, then again, they can go off and recommend that to other people as well.”

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“Brand Mentions” Are Problematic

Later on at the 58 minute mark another person brings the topic back up and asks how Google could handle spam sites that are mentioning a brand in a negative way.

The person said that one can disavow links but one cannot disavow a “brand mention.”

Mueller agreed and said that’s one of things that makes brand mentions difficult to use for ranking purposes.

John Mueller explained:

“Kind of understanding the almost the subjective context of the mention is really hard.

Is it like a positive mention or a negative mention?

Is it a sarcastic positive mention or a sarcastic negative mention? How can you even tell?

And all of that, together with the fact that there are lots of spammy sites out there and sometimes they just spin content, sometimes they’re malicious with regards to the content that they create…

All of that, I think, makes it really hard to say we can just use that as the same as a link.

…It’s just, I think, too confusing to use as a clear signal.”

Where “Brand Mentions” Come From

The idea of “brand mentions” has bounced around for over ten years.

There were no research papers or patents to support it. “Brand mentions” is literally an idea that someone invented out of thin air.

However the “brand mention” idea took off in 2012 when a patent surfaced that seemed to confirm the idea of brand mentions.

There’s a whole long story to this so I’m just going to condense it.

There’s a patent from 2012 that was misinterpreted in several different ways because most people at the time, myself included, did not read the entire patent from beginning to end.

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The patent itself is about ranking web pages.

The structure of most Google patents consist of introductory paragraphs that discuss what the patent is about and those paragraphs are followed by pages of in-depth description of the details.

The introductory paragraphs that explain what it’s about states:

“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs… for ranking search results.”

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Pretty much nobody read that beginning part of the patent.

Everyone focused on a single paragraph in the middle of the patent (page 9 out of 16 pages).

In that paragraph there is a mention of something called “implied links.”

The word “implied” is only mentioned four times in the entire patent and all four times are contained within that single paragraph.

So when this patent was discovered, the SEO industry focused on that single paragraph as proof that Google uses brand mentions.

In order to understand what an “implied link” is, you have to scroll all the way back up to the opening paragraphs where the Google patent authors describe something called a “reference query” that is not a link but is nevertheless used for ranking purposes just like a link.

What Is A Reference Query?

A reference query is a search query that contains a reference to a URL or a domain name.

The patent states:

“A reference query for a particular group of resources can be a previously submitted search query that has been categorized as referring to a resource in the particular group of resources.”

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Elsewhere the patent provides a more specific explanation:

“A query can be classified as referring to a particular resource if the query includes a term that is recognized by the system as referring to the particular resource.

…search queries including the term “example.com” can be classified as referring to that home page.”

The summary of the patent, which comes at the beginning of the document, states that it’s about establishing which links to a website are independent and also counting reference queries and with that information creating a “modification factor” which is used to rank web pages.

“…determining, for each of the plurality of groups of resources, a respective count of reference queries; determining, for each of the plurality of groups of resources, a respective group-specific modification factor, wherein the group-specific modification factor for each group is based on the count of independent links and the count of reference queries for the group;”

The entire patent largely rests on those two very important factors, a count of independent inbound links and the count of reference queries. The phrases reference query and reference queries are used 39 times in the patent.

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As noted above, the reference query is used for ranking purposes like a link, but it’s not a link.

The patent states:

“An implied link is a reference to a target resource…”

It’s clear that in this patent, when it mentions the implied link, it’s talking about reference queries, which as explained above simply means when people search using keywords and the domain name of a website.

Idea of Brand Mentions Is False

The whole idea of “brand mentions” became a part of SEO belief systems because of how that patent was misinterpreted.

But now you have the facts and know why “brand mentions” is not real thing.

Plus John Mueller confirmed it.

“Brand mentions” is something completely random that someone in the SEO community invented out of thin air.

Citations

Ranking Search Results Patent

Watch John Mueller discuss “brand mentions” at 44:10 Minute Mark and the brand Mentions second part begins at the 58:12 minute mark

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