free html hit counter May 2004 - Page 5 of 6 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Metadata Tagging The Social Grid Via Search

By - May 05, 2004

gray_logoInteresting idea. Social Grid. Does this violate the Google API? (I’ve sent the owner an email.) This is, however, a good example of how others can build on top of the search platform. From

The idea is simple. Registered members turn their own personal or business Web pages into free personals ads.

Members that sign up with the Orange County, Calif.-based firm get a string of HTML to put on their personal or business Web pages. The SocialGrid Search System then translates information that members enter into their SocialGrid profiles. Then Google and other search engines index not only the page but also the profile.

“It’s a Google for people,” said SocialGrid founder Chau Vuong.

Apparently, he’s hoping to be acquired, as he has a rather self defeating approach to his own business:

With the search wars in overdrive, Vuong thinks that Google should continue to expand. “Sooner or later, Google is going to come out with their own HotJobs and GeoCities,” he said. “Orkut is like Google’s answer to Yahoo Groups. SocialGrid is basically a Google’s version of Yahoo’s GeoCities and HotJobs.”

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The Incubation Platform

By - May 04, 2004

I was thinking about what Google might do with the huge platform it has and is continuing to build. What might be a profitable and deeply cool use of such a platform? Something Wayne Rosing said in Alex’s piece struck me, when crossed with Simson’s Akamai insights:

Engineering Vice-President Wayne Rosing has on several occasions emphasized that Google’s primary expertise is in so-called distributed computing. That’s a fancy way of talking about delivering applications to a computer user’s browser or to remote locations.

So, what if Google becomes an application server cum platform for business innovation? I mean, a service, a platform service, that any business can build upon? In other words, an ecologic potentiality – “Hey guys, over here at Google Business Services Inc. we’ve got the entire web in RAM and the ability to mirror your data across the web to any location in real time. We’ve got plug in services like search, email, social networking, and commerce clearing, not to mention a shitload of bandwidth and storage, cheap. So…what do you want to build today?”

If I had that opportunity, I’d take a percentage of revs or profits on the businesses that got built, rather than just service fees. it’s Google as incubator to Web 2.0.

Yahoo is already doing this, though for a fee and in the SMB market. So is MSN. The traces are laid. Both of them were also doing mail. But neither of them have more than 100,000 servers and the GFS. Hmmmm.

OK, back to writing the book, damnit.


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The ideas herein complement some of those which I’m pondering in my “From the Ephemeral to the Eternal” riff, which I might post here soon, if I can stop getting distracted by reading stuff like this. The whole privacy debate is a miasma, and I’m struggling with having something new to say without having to go back and spend 5000 words on history and context. On that note, there’s this new book in the mix to boot.

Lighter Posting Ahead…

By - May 03, 2004

Fellow Searchbloggers –

I’m hunkering down over the next month or two, and focusing on two things: my book, first and foremost, and the conference. Something has to be dialed back, and it will most likely be the stream of postings that hit this page every day. I will likely post more musings on the book, and less news and news analysis. Not to worry, though, once I make some progress on the book, and the initial program is set for the conference, I’ll be back at it full force, most likely in a new and improved fashion.

For good coverage of news, I suggest you add Gary Price and Andy Beals to your must read list, along with Danny and Chris over at SEW, of course.

Keep checking here, though. I know I won’t be able to stop posting on *really* important news, and I’ll be soliciting your feedback on my longer musings that are book related on (hopefully) a very regular basis.

Mitch Kapor: Google Wants Its Cake…

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mitchkMitch (founder of Lotus and the EFF, square that circle…) has seen some shit. Here’s his take.


This insulation from shareholder pressure has been criticized as arrogant and anti-democratic, but it is also prudent, I’m sad to say, since Google intends to run its business with an eye to risky, creative experiments that are poorly understood or tolerated by the public markets.

Even so, Google wants to have its cake and eat it too. …

…Google says: Give us your money and we’ll sell you a lottery ticket. We know what we’re doing, so it would be counter-productive for you to have any control over what we do. Sit in the back seat and enjoy the ride and don’t think too much about the odds.

The Public says: We’re willing to go along for the ride if it means we get to benefit from your money-making magic. We’re still in love with the fantasy of striking it rich; we miss the early days of the Dotcom boom. Can we get in? (Personally I think buying into the Google IPO is a sucker bet, but investing in public stocks isn’t how I made my money)….

…At least the Google guys want to do the right thing in terms of responsible corporate citizenship and for this they should get a lot of credit. What needs to change are the basic terms of the deal between public companies and the public. Business success needs to be measured not just by profit, but by social impact as well. In a world where that was the norm, absolute returns on stocks might be slightly lower, but absolutely everyone, would be better off.

Seth Goldstein on What Google Means to Wall Street

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sethgoldThis is really worth a read .

So there you had Google coming out rightfully declaring that any incremental value generated by investors belongs to Google, at the same time as the broker dealer mechanism was busy trying to steer basic equity trading business through its desk. I believe that Google’s decision to set its offering price through a retail auction mechanism has the potential of destroying a traditional profit center of wall street. …

…(I) got together with some friends for dinner. One of the husbands works for CSFB and I congratulated him on the coup of being named the lead on the Google IPO. Whereas I expected a little gloating, instead he bit his tongue and complained about the greed of Google and how little money CSFB was going to make (including its not insignificant banking fees). I think the point he was trying to make was that by going the way of the auction, that Google was trying to take every single penny off the table that they can. ….

…what I saw was the end of a certain kind of investment banking innocence. No, the outsized commissions are not your divine right. No, you can’t control the allocation of underpriced shares to your best clients. Yes you will be paid, but it will be in fees like those paid to lawyers, consultants or accountants. Profiting off of outsized bid-ask spreads would have to be replaced by a different type of value. I am not sure Wall Street has figured out what it will do if Google’s auction model proves to become the rule rather than the exception from here on in.

Seth runs a very interesting research company called Majestic Research.

Web 2.0, the Conference

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web2.0Today we announced Web 2.0, a conference for and about the internet industry. I’m teaming with the folks at O’Reilly and MediaLive on this event. It’s in October 5-7 in San Francisco, at the Hotel Nikko. The conference is limited to an invitation list, but it’s loosely joined. If you’re interested, let me know by signing up for the newsletter at left (I’ll be sending a note about the conference to that list later in the month), or go to the site and request an invite and say you heard about it through Searchblog.

While it’s still early on in the program, I’m pleased to say we’ve got a great lineup of folks speaking, including Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, John Doerr, Mitch Kapor, Larry Lessig, Mary Meeker, and Dan Rosensweig.

Two Bits of News From Looksmart

By - May 01, 2004

logo_ls_2002.gifI met with Damian Smith, who came from Australia to run Looksmart on an interim basis this January, a month or so ago. I didn’t post on it here, mainly because our conversation was book related or topics I imagined he didn’t want posted all over the net. But he sent me a note Friday regarding the two Looksmart news items last week, and they do merit attention. First, the company bought Net Nanny. From the release:

Net Nanny is the world’s leading brand name in consumer online filtering.

“This acquisition is both strategic and prudent for LookSmart,” said Damian Smith, LookSmart’s CEO. “Strategic, because integrating our search technology into Net Nanny provides a stronger product for their users, while also providing LookSmart with a desktop platform from which to launch high margin search and paid listings applications. Prudent, because Net Nanny is expected to produce positive margin contribution for LookSmart in 2004.”

Second, the company announced better earnings than were expected – and raised guidance for next year.