free html hit counter February 2004 - Page 3 of 12 - John Battelle's Search Blog
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Taunted by Tatas

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mug.gifThe folks behind Booble are at it again, taunting Google and posting press releases at “” seeking to portray themselves as a harmless parody site that is being bigfooted by the evil Google. I don’t buy this. When Booble came out, it was claiming to be a serious adult search engine, serving a real need. It wasn’t very good, but it claimed that it was going to be a business. Now that Google’s asserting its trademark rights, which in this case I think is entirely warranted, they have changed their stripes, and are a “parody site”. The whole thing is sophomoric. In fact, I’d not be surprised if this whole thing is being run by some bored kid in a college dorm room interested mainly in porn and selling mugs and tshirts.
(thanks, Gary)

Net Penetration Surpasses Cable…

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cabletv.jpgBut of course, that’s due to cable modems….MediaPost reports….

This is important as it relates to the psychology of the media buyer. Cable is a huge market, nearly $81 billion or so if I recall (more media revenue stats, head to the census, thanks Gary…). When advertisers realize that that net has better distribution than cable, there will be something of an “aha” moment. I’m feeling ever more confident of my prediction that online ad revenues will surpass expectations this year….

SEW: Local Search Needs Small Biz

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Good overview of the local search market on SEW today, in particular a good summary of some of the hurdles to sustaining growth in what might be called the “Yellow Pages” sector – those really small businesses which account for billions in local radio, newspaper, and Yellow Pages advertising:

To achieve any sizeable revenues from the local market, paid search needs to gain small business advertiser adoption. But how much of the small business market will pay-per-click (PPC) be able to penetrate? There are some very practical challenges, which include:
* The complexity and time involved in keyword bid-campaign management
* Limited ad inventory and competition between national and small business advertisers for that inventory
* The absence of local sales channels to “push” PPC to small business advertisers
* The lack of websites among as much as 70% of small businesses

These are not insurmountable by any means, though they should not be minimized.

Worth noting that Verizon’s SuperPages deal with FindWhat to OEM FindWhat’s auction process goes live next week on Superpages site…It’s also interesting to note that Verizon did *not* do this deal with Yahoo or Google…

KeepMedia Launches RSS Feeds

By - February 23, 2004

KeepMedia has decided, it seems, that RSS will aide them in promoting singups to their service. From a spokesman: “We launched an RSS feed today at and plan to launch others in the near future. Our RSS feed contains an average of 12-15 stories per day. Our editors pick several big stories each day and provide related articles from our 160+ magazines. We will frequently select stories from the archives that serve to provide historical background. At this point, we have found that we are the only RSS source for the overwhelming majority of magazine and newspaper titles on the KeepMedia newsstand. Linked stories are free to RSS users and to anyone who accesses those specific stories. …If a blogger links to one of the stories in our RSS feed, his audience will have free access to that story, however, if they want to further browse or search on KeepMedia and are not subscribers they will hit our paid-wall.”

This means some stuff previously behind registration walls will be available for blogging…The company also announced new relationships with The Atlantic and USA Today.

FindWhat Buys Again…

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fw_logo2.gifPretty soon I’ll have to take the time to really grok FindWhat. The company has been on an acquisition tear, merging with espotting, buying Miva, and today announcing it has purchased Comet (best known for that cursor download in the late 90s, now a search/platform/web privacy company).

OK. So FindWhat, in the end, is a strong second-tier pay-per-click network. Like Overture or Adsense, they match buyer and seller via paid search keywords. They have a distribution network, and they have an advertiser base of tens of thousands. Their biggest client is Lycos. They serve a significant base of advertisers, and with the addition of espotting, which has 20,000 advertisers, they are now a force in Europe.

The also have an SEO business, and with Miva, which sells ecommerce software to small businesses, they are looking to be a force in the SME website building space. In essence, they hope to sell loads of SME services to their advertising clients. Yahoo has a similar play. With Comet, FindWhat has acquired a company in the metabrowser/privacy/OEM space. I’m not sure I get the play here, but I aim to find out when I head to the Search Engine Strategies conference next week in New York.

Findwhat’s stock is on a tear, up about 110% over the past year. It’s earnings and revenues are also on a tear – its last quarter revenues were up 57%, and earnings have increased for 11 consecutive quarters. The company posted about $72 million in revenues for 2003.

So…what’s up with FindWhat? Any readers out there have experience with this company?

Mainstream 2: Google Founders on the Hustings

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When Peter Jennings calls, you usually pick up the phone. In the ongoing battle for the PR edge, Larry and Sergey have been named “Person of the Week” by ABC News. The piece is pablum – warmed over TV Dinner fare – but it’s interesting nonetheless to see the founders on this new press offensive. (Thanks, Beal.)

Search Ratings for January

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Via MediaPost, Neilsen Netratings reports that 39% of the US population used search engines last month.

The top five search venues in January were Google (59 million visitors), Yahoo! Search (46 million), MSN Search (45 million), AOL Search (23 million), and Ask Jeeves (13 million).


By - February 22, 2004

Scoble asks search giants for “access to the variables.” In other words, let users play with the guts of the engine, so they can tune the results to their liking. I hope the folks at MSFT are listening to one of their own. This kind of transparency, while problematic from a spam standpoint, would be most excellent.