free html hit counter January 2004 - Page 3 of 12 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Another SE Chart

By - January 28, 2004

This one from SE consultant Bruce Clay. It includes overviews of all the majors. If you stare at this for more than five minutes, ping me. We have at least that much in common. (Thanks, Kottke).

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Gigablast Connects Wayback…

By - January 27, 2004

Gigablast, still the work of one mad scientist (Matt Wells), now directly links search results to the Wayback Machine (link via Resourceshelf). This is pretty cool – I’ve always wondered why other engines don’t crawl history, so to speak, or at least offer it as an option….

TiVo makes Interesting Move

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TiVo disclosed late last week that it has purchased Strangeberry, MediaPost reports. Strangeberry was the company founded by key ex-Marimba employees to do home networking/broadband stuff. So far no clarity on how the peanut butter and chocolate will mix, but I sense it will be pretty cool. Strangeberry was doing a lot of work using Apple’s Rendezvous wireless networking technology. Blog rumours say look for a kick-ass home-server kitchen-sink type box.

TiVo’s SEC filing w/r/t the purchase. More via PVRBlog…

Google Clears Sarbanes-Oxley Audit, Next Stop….Wall St.?

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Markoff writes in the NYT today that Google has completed an internal audit of its compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. This is no small feat, the law requires an audit trail of every third party transaction, and Google has millions of them a week in its PPC engine. According to the Times:

Google’s board has been awaiting the report before giving the final go-ahead for the company to file a formal stock registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to several executives involved with the process….

The company has not yet picked a lead underwriter for its stock market offering, Google executives say, but several people involved in the process say that J. P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs are the only real candidates to manage the deal. Google is still weighing whether it should offer some shares through a public auction, in part to deflect potential criticism over whether the many investors eager to own a piece of the business will be treated in an equitable fashion.

The “dutch auction” approach popularized by WR Hambrecht is worth a longer think as it relates to Google specifically and others more generally. I’ll post more later.

The Corporation

By - January 26, 2004

Kottke posts on the Sundance audience-award-winning film The Corporation, which asks why a corporation has the same rights as a human being in our culture. I believe this question is important, and will continue to gain relevance. I’ve long wondered how it is that many corporations act like such selfish, amoral assholes, while the people in them are often so wonderful. This film explores that question. From Kottke’s site, quoting material explaining the film:

Considering the odd legal fiction that deems a corporation a “person” in the eyes of the law, the feature documentary employees a checklist, based on actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and DSM IV, the standard tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. What emerges is a disturbing diagnosis.
Self-interested, amoral, callous and deceitful, a corporation’s operational principles make it anti-social. It breaches social and legal standards to get its way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. It suffers no guilt. Diagnosis: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.

This may seem too pat for some readers, but I think these are core issues folks at Google are struggling with as they determine whether or not to go public. “Don’t be evil” and “amoral pyschopath” are not exactly compatible MOs.

Way Cool Music Search

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I found Grandaddy by using Amazon’s collaborative filtering technology – when I bought a Flaming Lips album on the advice of a friend, the Amazon filter said “folks who bought ‘Yoshimi…’ also bought…” I bit, and am glad I did. Now, take this idea to search, at least in a way. Thanks to Scoble for this gem: MusicPlasma. More proof of what can be done on top of a search platform. This takes a Grokker-like interface to show how your musical tastes relate. Type in one band you love and it will show you others you’d like. You can drill down in sort of a Venn diagram-driven search – say “Radiohead” then “The Shins”. As far as I can tell, this is built on the Amazon API (perhaps someone more astute than I can figure this out?). This is why, as I will say again, Yahoo and Google should really rev up their API programs.

SEO/SEM Market Turns Sights Toward Inktomi

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Until now, organic search was a one-horse race – Google. But with Yahoo coming online soon with its own search technology, based largely on Inktomi, the optimizers and marketers are focusing on Inktomi with the kind of ardor once reserved for Google. Will be interesting to watch how the two compare in the judgment of this world, once Yahoo takes off the wraps.


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A newly named “intermediate” research service from Hoover’s founder Patrick Spain, integrating eLibrary, Researchville, Alacritude, and The idea is interesting – to target the individual info-seeker who wants more than Google can offer, but does not want to pay the enterprise pricing of Factiva or Lexis/Nexis. Rafta Ali’s PaidContent has posted an interview with Spain.