free html hit counter August 2004 | Page 4 of 10 | John Battelle's Search Blog

This Is Odd

By - August 20, 2004

I very much doubt this was intentional…at least, I hope it was not, but it seems Feedster and Blinx have been taken out of Google’s results in one way or another. Read up on it here and here….

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GOOG To Open Shortly…

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GoogNASDAQjpg.jpg I can’t get a price for it yet, but AP says soon.

UPDATE: CNBC claims the pre-open buzz is that the stock will trade up, FWIW.

Yow. WSJ Tears Google a New One…

By - August 18, 2004

compressed_headThe headlines sum it up:

Engine Trouble
How Miscalculations and Hubris
Hobbled Celebrated Google IPO
Euphoria Ebbed, Tech Stocks
Sagged, Till Firm Cut Size,
Priced at a Low $85 a Share
Blow to Dutch-Auction Method

I’d love to link to it, but it’s paid sub. This is on the front cover of the Journal the morning the stock will open on the NASDAQ. Get the sense the banking community is pissed yet?

Highlights:

Google Inc. may have needed Wall Street after all.
The Web-search giant’s quest to reform the Street through an unconventional initial public offering backfired, as Google yesterday sharply cut the size of its stock sale and then set an IPO price far lower than it had anticipated: $85 a share.
A combination of Google’s own hubris, stubborn investors and a deteriorated technology market transformed what was billed as the hottest IPO of this short century into a rather messy affair….
…The price “says that a type of auction going out to the public like this is a failure because it raised uncertainties to such a level that people backed away,” said Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, an auction theorist at Columbia University’s business school in New York. By creating uncertainty, it “got Google a worse price than they could have gotten using a standard mechanism,” he said…
…They managed to tee off the broader constituency of Wall Street, and it’s obviously hurt them,” said Brad Ruderman, head of Beverly Hills, Calif., hedge fund Ruderman Capital Partners, who was sitting out the Google auction. “Wall Street wins again.”…
…In the end, Messrs. Page and Brin may have themselves to blame for setting expectations too high, in regard to both the pricing and their ability to avoid Wall Street’s usual ways. The $85 price was about where many financial experts had pegged the shares’ values early on….
…When Google executives, including Messrs. Brin and Page and CEO Eric Schmidt, met with mutual-fund and hedge-fund investors at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel the day after the pricing announcement, the presentation was light-hearted, and thin on details. Some investors sitting in the ballroom began speculating with each other whether the executives had spent any time practicing the presentation, or if they were winging it.
Glenn Krevlin, a New York hedge-fund manager who runs Glenhill Capital LLC, said he had no interest in the stock after attending the road show. “They didn’t tell you anything. They came across as high and holy,” he said…

Markoff's Grace Note

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nytlogoleft_article.gifJournalists read other journalist’s stories with a different lens. So when I read Markoff’s piece (reg required) in the Times today, I was thinking “OK, what does he have that is new – he never writes about Google unless he has a scooplet buried somewhere…”

I found it here:

According to several people close to Google, the company’s reticence has drawn regulatory attention in the past. They say that a continuing informal inquiry by federal and state regulators about the way Google distributed shares to its employees in earlier years came about because the chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, wanted to avoid a public stock offering in 2002. The company did not register shares granted under the employee stock option plan, which it might have been required to do.

Well and good, but…we knew Google was agonizing over the decision to go public. The real kicker in the piece, for me anyway, came when Markoff gave the following meme the all important final word in his piece. Quoting Inktomi founder Eric Brewer, he pointed out that Google is now an advertising company, as opposed to a technology company, a meme that The Register among others has been banging on for months.

“Because Google arose after the Internet bubble, they were able to acquire a very strong technical team,” Mr. Brewer said. “The irony is that they are really more of an advertising company than a search engine company today.”

Youch.

Google Prices at $85

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happytraderWSJ:

Google Inc. priced its initial public shares at $85 each, at the low end of the search giant’s downgraded estimates.

Regulators approved Google’s plans for its initial public offering, clearing the way for the Internet search company to begin selling shares as early as tomorrow morning.

The approval came after Google, scrambling to complete one of the U.S. stock market’s most eagerly anticipated stock deals, lowered both the number of shares it plans to sell in its initial public offering and the price estimates for the shares it will sell. The move sharply reduced the amount the California company will raise and thus the estimated valuation of the company.

But still and all, this is is the largest tech IPO in history, I believe. And at $85, there’s a better chance it will open up….

The SEW thread on this is here

Yahoo Launches Search Blog, Battelle Considers Bigfoot Letter

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yahoo.gifImitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. Our pal Jeremy pinged me today to let me know that Yahoo is launching the “Yahoo! Search Blog”. OK, I won’t sue (for now…).

From the first entry:

As Qi Lu, head of our engineering team likes to say, “search is like rocket science for the masses”. It’s no wonder then that our search team has grown the ranks of our PhDs 10 fold during the last two years….
… The massively scalable infrastructure those world class engineers have built enables us to build applications that we couldn’t even conceive of a few years ago….
…Be sure to check back here for news about new product introductions, updates and exclusive betas.
In addition, this blog is designed to provide a window into what our team is thinking and doing, in their own words (and maybe some guest bloggers as well).
Above all else we hope this blog enables you to share our excitement for the search industry and what the future holds.

For now, the site has comments wide open. Way to go!

Jeremy also has background on his site here including a FAQ. Highlights:

Q: Is this just going to turn into a lame PR blog?

A: I don’t expect that to happen. PR does not own the blog. And it’d be a wasted opportunity if it was just another PR outlet.

Q: Will you link to competitor’s sites or those you don’t agree with?

A: I hope so. I’ve tried to impress upon the folks involved that running a weblog is about openness and that it’s a two-way street. Bloggers can often smell PR influence a mile away.

Q: So PR’s not involved?

A: Of course they are. Someone has to keep an eye on the wannabe bloggers. They’re not going to be re-writing all the posts, if that’s what you’re worried about. They know that blogs are not press releases, and hopefully this will help them better understand this brave new world.

Recall Toolbar

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A reader points me to his own addition to the searchstream catalog: Recall Toolbar.

Recall Toolbar is a personal search engine that helps you instantly find that needle that you’re trying to find again in the haystack of pages you’ve already visited.

Recall Toolbar creates a local (i.e., on your hard drive) index of pages when you visit them. No information about the pages you visit ever leaves your computer.

Recall Toolbar does for Internet Explorer what Lookout does for Outlook. In fact, Recall Toolbar was inspired by Lookout.

Recall Toolbar contains no spyware.