theEweekly Wrap 12 June 2009

Manchester SEO Weekly WrapUser-edited news

Google has been trialling the use of links to Wikipedia articles in its news service. Company spokesperson Gabriel Stricker confirmed that the search engine was experimenting with the scheme after a number of bloggers spotted links to Wikipedia pages in Google's news service.

"Currently, we’re showing a small number of users links to Wikipedia topic pages that serve as a reference on current events," he said.

The trial displays relevant Google pages for certain news stories. One SEO blogger commented on the news:

"It’s hard to argue with the idea that many Wikipedia pages — which are often more comprehensive and updated more quickly than some news sites — offer background and context on current events that could be beneficial to Google News users."

Yes, we can (file-share)

A Swedish political group committed to legalising file-sharing online has claimed a seat in the European parliament. The Pirate Party won 7.1 per cent of votes in the recent European Union elections which were held last week.

The Pirate Party campaigned on a number of online issues, the most prominent being the legalisation of file sharing across the internet. The political group also ran its campaign with the promise to reform online privacy laws.

It is thought the group gained additional supporters amid the lawsuit against the unrelated Swedish torrent website, The Pirate Bay. Figures show that the membership of the political party tripled following the verdict against the founders of the file-sharing portal. The Pirate Party now has over 48,000 registered members in Sweden

URL Envy

From 5.01am on Saturday 12 June, social-networking site Facebook is allowing members to choose a username for their personal profile. The move sees the site abandon its previous URL structure – where each member was randomly assigned a number – and adopt a similar site structure to rival sites, MySpace and Twitter, with usernames featuring as part of the URL text. A statement from Facebook said:

"We're planning to offer Facebook usernames to make it easier for people to find and connect with you. When your friends, family members or co-workers visit your profile or pages on Facebook, they will be able to enter your username as part of the URL in their browser. This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you."

Usernames are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis and members are being warned that they cannot change their handle at a later date. The move caused controversy after it was revealed a number of high-profile businesses have already ‘reserved’ their usernames.

140 character dissertation

In local SEO Manchester news, The University of Salford has announced the launch of an MA in social media. The course, which starts in September, sees students study the history and theory of online social media. It aims to teach individuals how social media can be used for marketing and lobbying.

The course leader at Salford University, Professor Ben Light, said that social media provided a quality form of communication, whether for a community or a business.

"We feel that social media can be a way of doing social good and by giving students the skills and experience to implement effective technology and strategies, we hope they’ll be able to make a difference."