free html hit counter March 2004 - Page 9 of 12 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Things Are LOOKing Up

By - March 11, 2004

ls_logo_splash.gifLooksmart is trading higher today after revising its numbers upwards. Fact is, there’s room for plenty of players in search right now, even one that lost its biggest client, MSN. (Interesting, but Looksmart recently signed a deal with MSN to supply it with results on a sporadic basis, according to Dow Jones.) In fact, LOOK is in a good position to be the comeback kid, given it’s long history in the space. Odds are things will only get better, in this market anyway. I’m meeting the new CEO soon, look for a report then.

(Hat-tip to Beal)

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Gillmor Posts Book Chapters

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Dan Gillmore has been working on a book for some time now (on new media and journalism), and he’s bravely posted his introduction and first chapter (with more coming) for the world to review and critique. Very cool.

More on the Googleverse

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CNET weighs in with a roundup piece on various companies nipping at Google’s heels, both in pure search, interface, advertising business model, and the like. Industry Brains, Quigo, Eurekster, Grokker, Vivisimo, et al are discussed…

Industry Brains Beefs Up Financial Network

By - March 10, 2004

Logo_IndustryBrains.gifWhen I met with Erik Matlick of Industry Brains last week, he mentioned that the company was about to get much stronger in the financial publishing vertical. The news is now official, IBrains has added The Motley Fool, Kiplinger, Zacks, and Salary.com to its portfolio. I certainly am encouraged by this, and hope the company and lots more like it flourish. Press release in extended entry….

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Don't Be A GoogleDork

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Dan Gillmor points to a thoughtful article on search and security, published on The Register today.

In it the author points out how easy it is to use Google’s more advanced search features to find sensitive data left carelessly in the clear by webmasters (or, as the author puts it, by Bob in Marketing who has no idea he’s even publishing to the public web). The article is full of example searches, which is rather fun, and includes a pointer to an entire site of hacks that is worth checking out, called Googledorks.

Excerpts:

Often Web servers are left configured to list the contents of directories if there is no default Web page in those directories; on top of that, those directories often contain lots of stuff that the website owners don’t actually want to be on the Web. That makes such directory lists prime targets for snoopers….
…Once you start to think about it, the potentially troublesome words and phrases that can be searched for and leveraged should begin to multiply in your mind: passwd. htpasswd. accounts. users.pwd. web_store.cgi. finances. admin. secret. fpadmin.htm. credit card. ssn. And so on….
Google and other search tools have made the world available to us all, if we just know what to ask for. It’s our job as security pros to help make the folks we work and interact with aware of that fact, in all of its far-reaching ramifications.

MSN Money Says: No Bubble Here

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MSN Money columnist Michael Brush takes a look at the search space from an investment standpoint and says the exuberance is justified. There’s a very fine line between exuberance and “irrational” exuberance, a line that is quite hard to draw. Clearly the indications are quite healthy, as my last post points out. And we’ve seen irrational behavior in the past, so (I hope) we’ll hold ourselves back this time. If nothing else, many of us just don’t want to go back there again. Once is enough.

(thanks, Beal)

Just 1 in 9 Small Business Know About Paid Search

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According to this Kelsey/ConStat report. Those that do quickly put 23% of their marketing chips in the PPC basket. I can’t do the math this early in the morning (what would happen if, say, 3 in 9 small businesses put 23% of their chips into PPC), but …there’s a lot of upside left in this particular market. Not to mention what happens to average CPC as more and more competitors get into the market…..

(via Wonk, Internet Retailer)

BWeek on Oceana Flap

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Alex Salkever’s latest column on BusinessWeek online gives the Oceana/Google case a good once over (my posts are here and here). But even as he makes the point that Google serves as a public information space, and therefore should at least disclose the editorial choices it is making, he does not bring in a discussion of the CBS/MoveOn tempest. To my mind, that’s a prime example of similar (and far more inexcusable) behavior.

Excerpts:

Legally, it seems that Google and other search engines have no clear obligation to accept such ads — or any other type, for that matter — so its actions didn’t violate Oceana’s right to free speech. Even so, the Oceana brouhaha highlights key issues for Google and other search engines that will only become more inflamed as such sites grow and prosper. Namely, commerce and conflict sit poorly on the same Web page. Likewise, control and transparency often exist as opposing forces. How Google, the world’s No. 1 search engine, balances these tensions could change the shape of the Internet….

… With spending on political advertising looking to set a record this election year, Google’s editorial policy will have a big effect on what information voters do and don’t receive via Web advertising. According to McCaffrey, Google’s policy allows side-by-side policy comparison, but it bans attack ads — something major TV networks and large newspapers have been unwilling to do. That laissez faire attitude toward the political free-for-all may or may not be correct, but I find it a little disturbing that Google can be the arbiter over a key information source for voters.

Sign O' the Times…

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Got my first SEO spam today promising I could be “#1 On Yahoo.” That was in fact the subject header. The email sent me to a place I don’t think I’ll bother to link to. I’m not in the bullseye for this kind of spam, but it’s a sign o’ the times….