free html hit counter November 2003 - Page 5 of 5 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Network TV's Iridium Moment

By - November 05, 2003

nav_logo.gifReading the TV news this Fall, it’s hard not to believe the sky is falling, or at least several iridium-laced meteors have hit the networks, with more on the way. It’s like watching an entire ecosystem fail in real time: Networks cancel major shows after two or three episodes, TV execs wring their hands at terrible ratings losses (“Where Are The Young Men?”), finally declaring, after trying to lay the blame at Neilsen’s feet, that it must be a programming issue.
WELL OF COURSE IT’S A PROGRAMMING ISSUE! Jesus! Who are these people? The programs not only suck, they are completely out of touch with how this generation of viewers – better to say media consumers – want to interact with their entertainment. They don’t want to sit at some huge communal campfire, watching the same crap as 20 million other people (especially the young men!) And yet, the networks continue to tart up old formats like the sitcom or reality TV (yes, it’s tired too), then sit back agahst when they don’t pull in Superbowl numbers. They lurch after every possible “hot” idea that worked on cable or with a smaller audience (Gays! Reality TV! Buffy!), then try to force it into the mass media superstructure. Memo to the networks: there’s a reason shows like Buffy, or The Daily Show, or Queer Eye have non-network numbers – they’re NOT NETWORK SHOWS. They have natural audiences that do not scale to expectations of Thursday night primetime. It’s amazing to see a show like Coupling, which had a cult following in Britain, being canceled because it only pulled an 8.1 – my god, that’s huge by any standard other than network. Networks are slow to realize it, but the days of Big Audiences With Nothing In Common are over, save possibly news, awards shows, and sports. And good riddance. The pap these networks are putting on the air in an attempt to not offend anyone is getting simply indefensible .

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EBay: Google's Not A Threat; Overture's Tops, Jupiter Says

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The eBay-and-Google-are-competitors meme continues unabated, and Meg Whitman responded at a recent analyst day, “We’re good for Google, and Google is good for our sellers.” Ebay spends buckets on Google’s AdWords program, and it also spends buckets over at Overture, which recently got some good news from Jupiter, which published a study claiming Overture’s paid listings service outperformed Google’s.

The Economist Weighs In

By - November 03, 2003

Ho hum. Not as sharp as usual, but a few good points in this Economist piece on the Google IPO. Chief among them is a claim that Google’s contextual advertising margins are weak, according to Findwhat’s CEO (wishful thinking, perhaps?), and a furtherance of the building meme that Google is, in fact, an online advertising agency driven by a great search engine.

Declan on Govt. Information Practices

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Worthy of a read, and related to my earlier post about architecture and politics,
Declan at CNET outlines current administration tactics w/r/t information sharing that taken together certainly seem to form a pattern. We should all be thankful for projects like Brewster’s Internet Archive and The Memory Hole.

UPDATE: Larry Lessig points out that in fact the White House has deliberately changed the press release, and the Internet Archive proves it. No record made of this by the administration. Thank God for the IA.

"Get Where You Want In Two Clicks"

By - November 02, 2003

lockupDipsie, a new search engine coming Summer 2004, was recently written up in Businessweek (two paragraphs, with no mention of who was behind it). I could not find the site using a Google search (or Alta Vista or Teoma, so hold the conspiracy theories), but found it by simply typing in “” Gee…that seems odd, or they are so new that they’ve not been crawled, or…they have banned spiders from their site.

The site is very light on details, though it does say they are privately funded, in Chicago, and they are hiring. In the Businessweek piece (I’d link to it but their online site is deeply f*cked up) they also claim they will index 10 billion web pages (Google et al do about 3 billion) and will have semantic ranking (language based) that will be better than Google (the motto is “Get Where You Want In Two Clicks”.) If that’s right, expect them to be bought soon. If they *really do* have great tech, tech that can scale and withstand serious slashdotting, they’ll lash themselves to the mast, ignore the siren call of easy money from Google, MSFT, or Yahoo, and launch. Their price will go up with every new user they pull in. As Eric at Google often points out, the competition is one click away. And as great as Google is, fact is, no one ever gets past what Tim Bray calls the “Google Event Horizon” – result # 1001. In fact, few get past result #10 in any search engine, and therein lies an opportunity.