free html hit counter March 2005 | Page 4 of 9 | John Battelle's Search Blog

The Messy Web

By - March 24, 2005

Adam posts on thoughts from PCForum and Etech, on his personal views and those of his employer, Google, and why he decided to keep posting regardless. Great stuff.

In the end, he writes a passionate defense of a meme I’ve started to call the “messy web.”

As long as we don’t let the ontologists take over and tell us why tags are all wrong, need to be classified into domains, and need to be systematized, this is going to work well albeit, sloppily. What it does is open up ways to find things related to anything interesting you’ve found and navigate not a web of links but a link of tags. At the same time Wikipedia has shown that a model in which content is contributed not just by a few employees, but by self-forming self-managing communities on the web can be amazingly detailed, complete, and robust. so now people are looking at ways in which the same emergent self-forming self-administering models of tagging and Wiki’s and moderation can be used for events (EVDB) and for music and for video and for medical information. It’s all very exciting. It is a true renaissance. I haven’t seen this much true innovation for quite a while. What I particularly like about all this is how human these innovations are. They are sloppy. To me Tags are sloppy practical de-facto ontologies.



Hear hear. Read the whole thing, because he mentions how he takes off all of August, and I am doing the same, though in a more moderate form.

And by the way, congrats to Brian Dear for launching EVDB at PC Forum (it’s not live quite yet…). A neat idea I hope to write more about soon.

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Snap On Logos

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SnapstatsEvery so often I head over to Snap.com to see how they are doing. They have an uphill climb ahead – it’s not easy starting a new engine, traffic is scarce, and fueling the increasing returns fire is a black art.

But I was recently pointed to this little tidbit – Snap lets companies, or, I suppose, anyone – upload their logo so it appears with their listing. Another sign of input into how you look in that database of intentions.

Meanwhile, it sure is fun to stare at Snap’s statistics page.

ZoomInfo Redefines Vanity Googling?

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ZoominfoA people and business search engine, ZoomInfo launched earlier this week while I was at PCForum. I have not had time to use the professional edition (they have a free and pay version, and were kind enough to comp me so I can play around with it) but the Post has a nice write up here. From that:

Cambridge, Mass.-based Zoom Information Inc., searches the Web for public information about people and corporations, then allows them to edit their profiles. “With us, you have the ability to … present yourself how you want to be presented,” Russell Glass, ZoomInfo’s director of consumer products, told the Associated Press.

A neat idea – managing your own entry in the database of intentions. But it suffers from initial overload – so far, I’m the founder of WebMD, CEO of Northern Light, CEO of A9 (sorry Udi, I’m taking over), among many others. Oh, to have such a resume!

ZoomInfo is backed by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures, so I expect this is not the last we’ll hear from them.

Update: Gary Price chimes in to tell me that this service is not new, but a skin of an old service. For more see SEW here.

TrendMapper Watches Keywords

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TrendmapA cool hack from Eirik Solheim, TrendMapper pings engines on a regular basis and maps results. I love this kind of service, it provides a view of history and zeitgiest that inforrms our understanding of search and its impact on culture and business. From Elrik’s email:

“I have been using search engines to track interest for a subject for a long time. I have done this manually by searching for the same term at regular intervals, keeping track of the amount of hits and look for any significant growth.



Google talks about how many searches pr. day for specific words and phrases to track popularity, still I haven’t really found a service that can give me a historical view of the amounts of hits on a subject.”

If anyone knows of similar services, let me know!

Queryster Does Searchx

By - March 23, 2005

SearchxGoogle may have killed GoogleX, but the idea sparked the fellow behind Queryster to hack up Searchx, which puts most of the majors on a Mac OSX like icon menu. “I hope Apple and Google don’t sue me,” he said in an email to me. Me too!

Yahoo Ups Mail Limit to 1 GB

By - March 22, 2005

Yahoo MailStarting next month, Yahoo Mail will go to one gig. Platform wars, Ho! Release in extended, I don’t have a link for the news, save the mail site, which does not mention it yet. One thing to note: According to figures I’ve seen lately, mail is about 40% of all Yahoo page views, it’s the silent driver of profits at that company. And that’s why Google is pushing Gmail so hard lately – those pageviews drive profits.

News: Topix Beds The Newspapers…

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TopixRich Skrenta, CEO of Topix, which I wrote of glowingly here, called me earlier today to break the news: His company is selling a 75% stake to three major newspaper businesses: Gannett, Knight Ridder, and the Tribune Company. None of the new companies will have the ability to control the company, and this alone says volumes about how Web 2.0 is terrifying the newspaper industry. They can’t even buy their competition outright!

Rich would not give me a ballpark valuation, but given that he has real revenues and a scalable model with OEM potential (in terms of optimizing contextual ads and local), I’d wager it was pretty good – better than Flickr, perhaps.

I’m just in from a few whirlwind days at PCForum, which had a lot of search in it. I’ll be digesting this news, as well as PCForum thoughts, over the next few days. Meanwhile, the Topix release is in extended entry.

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The Gorgeous Arrogance of Large Media Companies

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From a WaPo (reg req’d) piece on media conglomerates and growth:



Topping Redstone’s shopping list are more cable television channels to add to the MTV/Nickelodeon empire, he said. He added that Viacom is “underinvested” in the Internet and will look for acquisitions there. “But not Yahoo or Google,” he said.

How sporting that Viacom, market cap of about $57 billion and no growth story, deigns not to “buy” Yahoo, market cap of $44 billion, or Google, market cap $49 billion, both living smack in the middle of the fastest growing sector of the media business. Jesus. If only Time Warner had deigned not to “buy” AOL.