free html hit counter June 2004 - Page 3 of 5 - John Battelle's Search Blog


By - June 12, 2004

Both Greg Linden, of Findory fame, and Gary Price pinged me today on Blogory, Findory’s new blog reading/finding service (in beta now). The idea is simple: Blogory will watch what you read and suggest new stuff based on that. The layout is interesting, sort of a Topix for blogs (OK,OK, a Findory for blogs!). And since Kinja didn’t have a recommendation engine (though I’m told Bloglines does), I think I’ll take this for a spin and see what’s what…

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Oh So Quiet We Leak

By - June 10, 2004

faucet_leak_redbg150 A article, and subsequent Slashdot post, note that Google is “considering renewing support” for RSS. Now that’s interesting in itself, but not interesting enough to rouse me out of my book-induced torpor. What *is* interesting is that the CNET story quotes an internal email from Google that threads through the main players at the company. The RSS/Atom feud is not hugely advanced by this leak, the email is not definitive in any way, at least as reported in the CNET piece.

But what is noteworthy is that an internal email on any subject made its way into the hands of a reporter during the quiet period. One would expect this is *not* an intentional leak, as such a move would be dangerous given Google’s desire to avoid pulling a Benioff. So that means something else – that someone at Google is going around company policy to give this to CNET, or, that CNET has an in that Google can’t stop. For a company that is notoriously good at keeping its cards close to the vest, it’s something of a new development.

Search as a Window

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Scoble notes that eBay has in the past learned from listening to those who criticize eBay, then figuring out ways to include the naysayers and their insights into making eBay better. To put that to good end, Scoble is using tracking phrases across Feedster, PubSub, and T’rati to see who is saying “I hate (Scoble, Longhorn, or Microsoft.)”

In other words, he’s using conversation search to get smarter and better. Good idea.

Go Bears, Search Looksmart

By - June 09, 2004

cal-title-fThey must have known I’m a Cal guy: Looksmart has done a deal with Berkeley for an “Affinity” search portal, along the lines of affinity credit cards, etc.You use their search engine, and a portion of the proceeds benefit Cal sports (they need the help!). Not a bad idea, but if anything says “commodity” it’s this kind of deal. In any case, the details are here, and here’s a summary from their PR folk:

Looksmart is pioneering “affinity search” with Cal, applying the same principles that business organizations such as the credit card company, MBNA, which has developed credit cards that will directly give back $$ to the specific group (such as the Sierra Club, etc.). By identifying groups of avid supporters (college alumni, fans, students, members of conservation organizations, etc) who will switch from Google or Yahoo to search on a site that produces revenue for the organization or a cause they’re passionate about, the “affinity program” brings $$ back to the group. As an example, MBNA has been able to recruit 5,000 organizations and 12 million cardholders with this approach. This is the first program of its kind in the nation where a higher education institution has tried this sort of partnership.

Ask Adds Desktop Search: Tukaroo

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askAlso files intent to sell as much as $400 million in stock. My my. It’s getting interesting, eh?

Tukaroo does desktop search. The URL is blank right now (not the best way to manage your 15 minutes of fame, in my humble ….). The Google cache ain’t doing much better.

Here’s an old press release on them…

UPDATE: Of course Gary Price found more!
This from the Yahoo cache
this too…

Safa: The Internet Is Undervalued

By - June 08, 2004

rashtchyYup. From his weekly newsletter:

Our detailed analysis of historical valuations of over 50 Internet companies as well as several other sectors including media, software, and retail has produced a very interesting outcome. First, to lay out our methodology, we were seeking to answer two questions: how does the growth-adjusted valuation look like for Internet compared with these three sectors that are the closest in their characteristics, and second, how do current valuation levels of Internet stocks compare with historical levels. From our own experience, we know that the valuations at their peak in 1997-2000 were significantly higher than the current level, in fact orders of magnitudes higher in some cases. But to get standardized data, we used PE and PEG ratios that are available for all the companies and go back sufficiently to give us some results. We used pro-forma EPS estimates as those are most widely reported to First Call. Finally, to get a sufficient number of companies with earnings so that our averages are meaningful, we had to go back only to 2002 and not earlier.

Internet Sector Cheaper Than Others. The results show that the Internet sector is currently trading at a discount on a growth-adjusted basis compared to the software, retail, and media sectors, as shown in the table below. The Internet companies are trading at a median PEG ratio of 0.6x 2005 estimates, while the other sectors trade at PEGs of 1.0 for retail, 1.4 for media, and 1.5 for software. The results are similar even if we use 2004 PEGs. The average earnings growth of the Internet sector is 40% compared with the average of 22% for the other three sectors.

Idea Dumb, Guys

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In an earlier post I referred to this piece (on a keynote at a B2B trade show) and ranted a bit about trade magazines, the internet, and the like, but it seems the Ad Age story missed what I think is the key piece of blinkered thinking that came from the speech. Rafat points it out:

Trade Companies To Block Google and Other Search Engines?: It is an idea floated by International Data Group CEO Pat Kenealy, no less. He gave a speech recently at American Business Media conference, and also talked about Google’s effect on trade media companies and magazine industry…
In the latest issue of Media Business magazine (it is available as a PDF and rather cumbersome to download, as the whole magazine in split into two PDFs…the Google story is broken in the middle), a story discusses the Google conundrum for magazine publishers…and quotes Kenealy on his speech at the ABM conference: “Kenealy has floated the idea that American Business Media member companies should agree to block Google and other search engines from crawling their sites. Together, these business media companies could develop their own search algorithm, or they might cut a more favorable revenue-sharing deal with an existing search engine, he said.”

Rearrange the deck chairs, boys! Let’s all get a good view of our asses as we sink to the bottom….Sure, you can put your site behind registration, I mean, many do, though they’re learning that even pages behind registration should be visibile in some way to engines. But block search engines? How about next you go off the power grid and start churning butter by hand? And whoa boy, do I want to see the search algorithms these guys might come up with.

Cut a deal with search engines to get revenue for inclusion? Yeah, but it flows the other way in this market. B2B, meet CAP or AdWords. Get the engines to pay you for the honor of searching your content? Er…no. But you might start to think about getting into the domain specific game, where instead of circling wagons, you add value (something most B2B publishers have long ago forgotten about – how much do they really care about high quality editorial, past lip service?). Here’s a place to start….

Meanwhile, note this: Startup TechTarget, which is based entirely on the internet, just got $70 million (that’s Seven Oh) in venture. It’s main competitor besides CNET? IDG. I wonder if it’s interested in blocking search engines. I know from talking to Shelby at CNET that they certainly aren’t, in fact, they’re optimized for search – they want to be found, they think what they have is worth knowing about. Indeed.