free html hit counter September 2004 - John Battelle's Search Blog

The Kleptones Storm the Web

By - September 30, 2004

The Kleptones - A Night At The Hip Hopera - front1Just finished listening to the KleptonesA Night At The Hip-Hopera (mirrors are there for downloading). Oh…My…God. Do people seriously want to make this kind of art illegal?
This clearly will stand with Danger Mouse’s Grey Album as a Declaration of Something New and Important as the entertainment world traverses its way from old to new models. It’s just…really really good. Powerful. Thoughtful. You know, all that stuff that … music is supposed to be.

(Thanks Hank and JH)

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News of Note

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Microsoft researcher says paid search model may self destruct (CRN)
I disagree. It will just move on to more sophisticated models.
Joe on MSFT in 1995: Search has no business model.
Yeah, I thought that then too.
IBM’s Marvel to Scour Net for Video, Audio (Cnet)
IBM does search? Yup, remember WebFountain?
Google follow up on the GLAT.
I’d fail, is all I know.
WashPost buys Slate (Rafat)
That makes sense. Slate is moving from a s’ware-driven owner (MSFT) to one more suited to the content biz (WashPost).

Clusty – I Hear It's Great, But I Can't Get It to Load….

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clustyYou know I am distracted when it takes me this long to post on Vivisimo’s new consumer facing search engine, which launched today. (I love a catchy name, but Clusty?) The folks at Vivisimo were kind enough to ask if I wanted a tour and talk with their senior brass, but I am so slammed getting ready for Web 2 that I just couldn’t break away. Fortunately, plenty of folks are covering the launch. From the AP story:

Online search engine upstart Vivisimo Inc. is setting out to persuade the masses that Google Inc.’s vaunted technology isn’t the most efficient way to find things on the Internet.
The little-known Pittsburgh company is taking aim at Google and other industry leaders like Yahoo Inc. with a new search engine called, scheduled to debut Thursday after four years of fine tuning.
The search engine’s name refers to the clustering technology that Vivisimo has refined to sort search results into different categories related to the initial search request.

My only problem with the engine is that they are clearly staggering under the weight of being today’s “next Google” – I couldn’t get on the site.

Other sites covering the launch:


Update: I got through now. Will post more as I use it.

Yahoo in 1995

By - September 29, 2004

I’m interviewing Jerry Yang Thursday next at Web 2.0, and in the process of preparing, Yahoofolk dug up this homepage screenshot, from 1995.


Yahoo turns 10 years old this Fall. Whoa.

Patriot Act Update: Portions Ruled Unconstitutional

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From Reuters via ABC:

Part of the Patriot Act, a central plank of the Bush Administration’s war on terror, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marreo ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the power the FBI has to demand confidential financial records from companies as part of terrorism investigations.

Next stop: Appellate, then Supreme Court…

Slashdot thread.

Put On Yer Search Hat

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suesshatDon Park has some search ideas, and he wants to put em in the public domain before he goes up to MSFT for some advisory board meetings on search. His first, the Search Hat, is neat, and groups into the personalization category. I’m not sure it’s a feature for the masses, but the ability to “go modal” while searching – “I’m searching as a reporter, not as a shopper,” for example – would be very cool for advanced users. (We could use “Tivo Hats” and “Amazon Hats” while we’re at it….)

For example, if I search for ‘Eclipse’ while wearing the ‘Software Developer’ hat, I should get Eclipse IDE related links before links related to the astrophysical phenenomon.  If even I was interested in the later, results I get back should be different depending on whether I am wearing a Physicist’s hat or a Photographer’s hat.

Information on which links are relevant to which hats can be culled by keeping track of which hats searchers are wearing when they do the searches.  Same information can be used to recommend hats a searcher might be interested in wearing.  Hats can also be shared amonger searchers explicitly.

Like Dr. Seuss’s magic hats, there are hats within hats so seachers can browse for the right hat that suits them by diving into hats or grabbing one of the hats returned as part of each search result.  Over time, a user’s hat collection will be refined and adjusted to meet the user’s search needs.

Google Stats

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Getting hard numbers on Google is always, well, hard. Andy has a few in this post, summarizing a Google manager’s presentation at a recent conference:

28% of Google searches are for a “product name”, 9% are for a “brand name” and 5% are searches for a “company name”.

Moving Along to Market Banker

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Astute (or perhaps merely bored) readers will note that I’ve moved my ad service from AdSense to MarketBanker, a new service that is still scaling, but shows promise. As I’ve said before, I’m going to try out several services here, mainly to learn them in real time, and get a sense of what works, what’s needed, and what’s even possible. Unlike AdSense, Market Banker allows advertisers to actually buy the site directly, which is one of my pet peeves. So, if you want to sponsor Searchblog, click the link on the right. You’ll have to register as a Market Banker advertiser.

So what did I think of AdSense? Well, it wasn’t right for this site, as I expected. This is not a knock on the service, but truth be told, if you do mostly analysis and fast moving stuff with lots of disparate contextual hooks, the crawler is simply too slow to stay up, and the ads don’t really match well enough. My potential endemic advertisers, meanwhile, can’t really get to this site from AdSense. Most of the time I had pretty lowest common denominator stuff up there, and the clicks weren’t that great. I do know it works great for others, like Kevin and Matt.

Soon, I think I’ll be trying out FeedBurner’s RSS/Amazon service. Just off the phone with Dick Costolo, and man, there’s a lot to talk about in his RSS Business Models workshop at Web 2.0.

If You Lived Through the Last Bubble….

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paulgraham_1813_17896Read Paul Graham on What the Bubble Got Right.

The fact is, despite all the nonsense we heard during the Bubble about the “new economy,” there was a core of truth. You need that to get a really big bubble: you need to have something solid at the center, so that even smart people are sucked in. (Isaac Newton and Jonathan Swift both lost money in the South Sea Bubble of 1720.)

Now the pendulum has swung the other way. Now anything that became fashionable during the Bubble is ipso facto unfashionable. But that’s a mistake– an even bigger mistake than believing what everyone was saying in 1999. Over the long term, what the Bubble got right will be more important than what it got wrong.

Even Non Geeks Might Enjoy…

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labs_logo2…reading Adam Rifkin’s post about the Google Labs Aptitude Test, which is included at the bottom of his post. Sample question:

6. On your first day at Google, you discover that your cubicle mate wrote the textbook you used as a primary resource in your first year of graduate school. Do you:
A) Fawn obsequiously and ask if you can have an autograph.
B) Sit perfectly still and use only soft keystrokes to avoid disturbing her concentration
C) Leave her daily offerings of granola and English toffee from the food bins.
D) Quote your favorite formula from the textbook and explain how it’s now your mantra.
E) Show her how example 17b could have been solved with 34 fewer lines of code.