free html hit counter February 2005 - Page 4 of 7 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Make Launches

By - February 14, 2005

01Congrats to the O’Reilly team and to Mark, the editor and my partner over at Boing Boing, on the launch of Make, a magazine/book hybrid that I think has great potential (my shorthand for it is “Popular Mechanics for the digital age.”) I was involved in conceptualizing the project early in its life, and I am so pleased to see it out in the world! Full release in extended entry.

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The Search Branding Wars

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ValentineWith Yahoo spending on its search launch last year, MSFT reportedly going well into nine (yes, nine) figures on its MSN Search marketing campaign all this year, and now Ask getting into the ring, the search branding wars have begun. The question is, does it at all matter?

I certainly understand the desire to frame and catalyze your brand with television, it’s quite a good medium for that. And Ask certainly suffers from a long hangover from its last marketing push, back in that bubble era, when it made far more promises than it could keep.

But somehow television feels so – hopeless. I doubt this is going to move the needle. What will? Grassoots buzz, the kind that began to build with the acquisition of Teoma, then Bloglines, and might continue should Ask keep up those kinds of moves, and succeed in some kind of integration play that yields superior online services. Ask’s recent flirtations with the open source world is also interesting. In any case, it can never outspend Microsoft, which of all the companies in this space just might bull its way into the consumer’s mind with the blunt instrument of a TV marketing spend. I’m not saying Ask is wasting its money (well, maybe I am). In the end, as good as those Chiat Day ads might be, the money might better be spent on the product itself.

Flickr Graph, Tagging

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Tagging and Flickr in particular are starting to break out. I am not sure where it will all head, but it’s clearly a trend – metadata from the roots up. Check out these two new tools: Flickr Graph, which maps social networks based on Flickr, and TagSurf, which I’ll just let Russell explain.

LivePlasma

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LiveplasmaThe folks behind MusicPlasma, which inspired my BlogPlasma idea (in the works) have added movies and more to their site, and renamed it LivePlasma. It’s in beta now, and I could not get the members area to work (it promises to support custom maps which can be shared, etc.), but check it out, they are looking for input.

Searchblog Print Update

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Qoop, the company behind the Searchblog Print Edition test, is thrilled at how many of you have checked them out since I posted my note last week. So much so, that CEO Bill Murray emailed me and said he wants to lower the price of the book by ten bucks, to $19.99. Those who have already bought it will be charged the new price. Cool!

Black Monday for GOOG?

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GoogchartLate last week GOOG took a hit, and initially I thought – man, that analyst day did not go well. After all, as the Times (reg req’d) pointed out, the chef presented, but the CFO did not.

But I think it had more to do with this – Google’s last lockup up expires Monday, and some $19 billion of stock comes free to sell. The market more than likely is pricing in the expected selling frenzy.

From the Merc’s coverage:

Karen Brosi, a certified financial planner in Palo Alto, predicts many Google insiders will do just that because they’ve learned an important lesson from their “tech-bubble ancestors.”

“What they know is that stock goes down. They know they have a value on paper. They know the only way to keep that value is to dump that stock,” Brosi said.

Most companies bar workers from selling stock for 180 days after the initial public offering. But the Mountain View Internet search company took the unconventional step of letting employees sell slices of their holdings four times after the IPO in August, and its stock has generally maintained an upward path. Since it went public at $85 it peaked at nearly $211 this month, before slipping back to $187.40 Friday.

Union Square Ventures

By - February 10, 2005

Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham have started a fund – reportedly oversubscribed – that will invest at the intersection of technology, media, and disruptive internet models. I’m very pleased they are doing this, and there is such interest from institutional money. I like these guys a lot (caveat, Fred’s previous fund, Flatiron, invested in The Standard) and met with them today when I was in NYC. It was nice to be able to congratulate them in person on closing their fund and getting on with investing. They noted, as we spoke, that the advent of lightweight business models and the excesses of the bubble make it actually harder to invest in Web 2.0. That’s good, I think – it really makes investing a considered decision on both sides. I am sure they’ll have a great time, and thanks to Fred’s site, we can keep tabs on how it’s going in real time.

Google Analyst Day

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Google AnalystdayI was on an airplane during Google’s analyst day (webcast), and I think it’s a good thing, or I would have obsessed over Google’s presentation. Thankfully, others already have. Greg Linden has a good short take. Here’s Slashdot. And here’s a good overview from SEW.

Searchblog Print?!

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Sblog PrintWell, yes, in fact! I have a buddy who is involved in Qoop, a very cool new company that makes print editions of online content. It’s still very much in beta, but one day he came ambling down my stairs with a big, bound copy of Searchblog, with all the posts from 2004 inside of it. It was really cool to see, and he asked if I would be something of a test case for his company. Why of course I would, I repQooplied. So here you have it (I put a link to this on the left side of the page, it’ll stay there for as long as folks click on it). The price is a bit steep (a bit under $30 – I get about a third of that), but it has something like 100K words, all of them exceedingly wise, of course, and it’s an excellent example of one-off printing – no inventory, no backend warehouses, it’s online to print, and it’s direct. Think about this plus Google Print, for example. Or Flickr. Whoa. In that perspective, I’m honored to be a test case. Long tail, ho!