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Semel Says: Social Networking Is Interesting…

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At the (corrected) Commonwealth Club in the Valley last night, Semel said he’s keeping an eye on social networking, and that he sees a day when Yahoo might have ad-free services. You bet……

Ryan Bails from MSFT

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CNET reports that former Overture CTO Paul Ryan has left his job running MSFT’s new paid search efforts after only four months. I wonder, why?

Patents – Simmering Under the Surface…

By - February 25, 2004

It’s good to know there’s a reporter out there covering this space who has an institutional memory. Stefanie Olsen reminds us of the importance of patents in the search game, and in particular of the simmering litigation between Google and Yahoo. She also includes this gem in her round up: “Amazon.com has also laid claim to a patent that could affect search-related advertising. In March, it updated an application for a method of auctioning off ads that appear on a Web page.” I’m going to see Udi, who runs A9, later this week. I am sure interesting things are coming out of that shop.

PS – if you’re a patent watcher, head to Gary’s site, where he posts search related patents on a monthly basis

News, Rumor Roundup

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Off the Berkeley for the day to teach, but a few things worth pointing you toward.

First, the rumors are flying again about Jeeves being in play. CBS Marketwatch is fueling them, saying AOL might buy the company and drop Google. I don’t think so, but you never know. Andy Beal has a nice interview with Ask’s VP of Tech in today’s SEW.

As long as we’re talking rumours, my ruminations on FindWhat brought up some interesting private email, and one of them led me to thinking that, in the end, it might make a lot of sense for FindWhat to bulk up by merging with LookSmart, which is obviously hurting since its loss of MSN. What do you think?

Lastly, AP reports on Eurekster and other challengers to the search giants. Includes mentions of Grokker and Feedster, and quotes from Googlefolk claiming they are “watching the innovations” and will respond this year with their own.

The New Lycos Page Is Up…

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And all I can say is…it sure ain’t for me. It smacks of that cloying, wannabe-cool-but-really-kinda lameness that, well, that happens when you try too hard. But…then again, I’m certainly not in the demo they seem to be going for (the same demo as everyone else in the media business, it seems – 18-34, single). It is interesting to see them pitch this in the clothes of a pure media play. The home page feels rather like a promo for a show on the WB. It just might work. Who knows.

Search is still right there at the top, anyway.

Industry Brains Launches RSS Paid Listings

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Logo_IndustryBrains.gifOur buddy Matt is a pioneer over at Infoworld. Full text of press release is in the extended entry. Snips:

IndustryBrains, the only business performance based media firm that specializes in contextual, site-specific advertising, announced today it has expanded its business to include syndication of paid listings to publishers participating in RSS-driven content feeds….
Just as with IndustryBrains’ web-based paid listings, its RSS technology is private-labeled by partner sites and is completely transparent to the user. This enables publishers to leverage their brand and relationships with advertisers who are willing to pay more for placement on a highly regarded site. IDG’s Infoworld and CMP Media’s Techweb Network have implemented IndustryBrains listings as part of their category specific RSS syndication.

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Joi On Search in Japan

By - February 24, 2004

Joi Ito, who I first met at Wired in the early 90s, has been at the cross of a lot of very interesting roads. In this post he reminisces about his role in search in Japan, with anecdotes about Yahoo Japan and Infoseek. A fun read….

Whitman Again Stresses Google Is Not Competitor…But Plans Local Play….

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In this AP story covering a Goldman conference in AZ, eBay chief Whitman says she sees Google and Yahoo and other search players as enablers of her business. “We think both natural search and paid search are allies of ours,” she said.

But, in the same speech, she noted that eBay is planning to get back into the local auction market, something they tried in the late 90s that did not take off. The story failed to note the obvious: local search is a very hot market right now, and I doubt that has escaped Whitman. Search is not a competitor? Perhaps. But just to be sure…better shore up the local angle. (AP story via Gary, thanks!)

Froogle Goes Wireless

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Google Labs announced today they’ve enabled Froogle over wireless. Cool – now you can compare prices using your mobile phone or PDA….

From the release:

Users may find this service especially helpful when they’re out shopping at a retail store and are interested in searching Froogle to compare prices online…Using the Froogle wireless service is simple:
– From a WML-enabled phone, point the browser to http://wml.froogle.com
– Enter search terms in the box and select the ‘Search’ button
– Use the phone’s keypad arrows to scroll through the results.