free html hit counter September 2005 - Page 5 of 6 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Vint Cerf Joins Google

By - September 08, 2005

Cerf My my. Release in extended entry. From it:

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced that it hired Vinton (Vint) Cerf, the longtime

technologist who is widely known as a “founding father” of the Internet, as Chief Internet Evangelist.

…Cerf will continue his leadership in the Internet community, and help Google build network infrastructure, architectures, systems, and standards for the next generation of Internet applications.

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Book Stuff, Version 1

By - September 07, 2005

Thesearch Bookcover-5Well, the book is shipping from Amazon, I am told, and some folks are saying in comments that they are seeing it in bookstores as well. So despite the fact that the official launch date is not till this coming Monday….I guess that means…this is getting very real.

The books’ Amazon ranking has jumped from nearly 3000 on the list to around 1000 – it was near 600 this afternoon….so that must be good, right? If you have any desire to buy the thing, boy, now would be a nice time to do it…I’m told that if the book makes the top echelons of Amazon’s list in its first week, why, that’s a platform for all sorts of good momentum.

The Harvard Business School reviewed it and had nice things to say, so that’s good too….I’ve been warned that reviews are coming from many others in the next week.

And I have a new page tracking all this, inasmuch as I can stay up with it, over here. I plan to update as I can…

Thanks for the input on my last post about this, you seemed to want me to err on the side of keeping you informed…so for those who are in the Bay Area, here are my speaking events. I am due to be in Seattle, New York, and possibly LA and DC as well.

It’d be great to meet you, and if you buy the book, I’ll sign it if you come:

Tuesday, September 13


Books, INc

301 Castro Street

Mountain View, CA 94041


Thursday, September 15


Stacey’s Book Store

581 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94105


Monday, October 3


Barnes & Noble

3600 Stevens Creeks Blvd.

San Jose, CA 95117


Monday, October 17


Barnes & Noble

11 West Hillsdale Blvd.

Hillsdale Shopping Center

San Mateo, CA 94403


Monday, October 24


Book Passage

51 Tamal Vista Blvd.

Corte Madera, CA 94925


Yahoo and the Imprisoned Journalist

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Greatwall-TmBy now you may have heard that Yahoo helped Chinese authorities track down a Chinese journalist (via his Chinese Yahoo email) who was subsequently jailed for “leaking state secrets” or somesuch brilliant bullshit. Here’s the SJMN coverage (reg) and Search Engine Journal’s coverage.

From the Merc:

Yahoo has provoked the ire of a media watchdog group for allegedly giving information to the Chinese government that led to the jailing of a Chinese journalist for leaking state secrets.

The controversy adds Yahoo to a growing list of U.S. companies that have faced scrutiny for their business dealings in China, a country that is coveted by businesses for its booming economy and reviled by activists for its censorship and human rights abuses….

….China’s “Public Pledge on Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry,” (is) a document signed by Yahoo and some other U.S. companies. The pledge commits signatories to make “energetic efforts to carry forward the rich cultural tradition of the Chinese nation and the ethical norms of the socialist cultural civilization” by observing all state industry regulations, according to the group Human Rights Watch. In particular, the document asks signatories to refrain “from producing, posting, or disseminating pernicious information that may jeopardize state security and disrupt social stability.”

I’ve written about how Google struggled with this issue, and has gotten a fair amount of grief for it, but Yahoo and others have the same struggle. I pinged my contacts at Yahoo and all they could say was this:

“Just like any other global company, Yahoo! must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based.”

How I wish these companies had the backbone to at least say what happened was wrong, that the Chinese system is wrong, that they regret they are in this position. Take a stand – say what I know you must feel! One can have an opinion, and still “operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based.” Or is it also the law in China that US corporations can’t have an opinion?

It's A Long Tail, But A Very Short Head

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Check out these stats from SEW:

Some new and amazing numbers released today show that search sponsored links from eBay,, and InterActiveCorp made up 34 percent, or nearly 13 billion, of online advertising impressions for a one week period.

Update: In the comments Chris points out we read the release wrong, it’s 34% of ALL ad impressions are search/paid links, not that 34% of search impressions are those three companies….

The Power List

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I’ve always been fascinated by Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment” power list, dominated nearly always by media folk (there’s always a photo taken at media banker Herb Allen’s retreat in Sun Valley). The idea was that the moguls of media controlled information and public opinion, and therefore were the most powerful men in the world.

Now, Sergey Brin and Larry Page hold the crown, above Murdoch and Redstone. You think this doesn’t stick in those guys’ craw? You’d be wrong.

Details in this Daily News coverage.

Google's Rebuttal….

By - September 06, 2005

GoogrespWell, it didn’t take long for Google to file a rebuttal to the injunction covered in my last post on this matter. The first quote (that was not redacted – both documents have been redacted by either Google or Microsoft to protect what the companies believe is confidential information, Microsoft has redacted far more than Google so far) Google uses to make a point at the top of the document is familiar:

“I’m going to F….g kill Google.” Steve Ballmer.

To clarify, today both sides are arguing on the preliminary injunction, which MSFT would like enforced so Dr. Lee cannot work at Google pending a full trial. Much of it points out that much of the allegedly confidential information Microsoft claims is at risk is in fact public. The response to the request for injunction opens by stating:

“Dr. Lee will not work or consult in any of the technical areas identified in Microsoft’s proposed preliminary injunction…”

It then goes on for another 20 or so pages, highlights:

…Microsoft brought this preliminary injunction not out of concern for any confidential information, which Google and Lee have stipulated to protect, but out of a desire to delay Google’s entry into China, and make an example of Dr. Lee for other Microsoft employees….

….the unique skills and qualities that make Dr. Lee and ideal recruiter for Google are personal to him-Microsoft does not own them and cannot prevent Dr. Lee from using them on behalf of Google….

…Microsoft’s refusal to allow Dr. Lee to recruit (for Google) is based on a fear of competition….by its own admission, Microsoft is behind in the development of internet search technologies…

…Dr. Lee did not recruit anyone for Google before starting his employment….

The document then goes into case-based legal arguments, which I am sure will be at the heart of this case, but I’ll let the courts sort that out, and report on the news as it comes out….

Update: Here is Cnet’s coverage of the first day, the hearing continues today.

More MSFT v. Google: Tantalizing Court Records

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MsftinjuThis Kai-Fu Lee case is starting to look less like an employment dispute, and much, much more like the first of what will likely be many protracted battles between the once mighty king (MSFT) and the young princely upstart (GOOG).

Another reliable source sent me the 26 page document Microsoft filed to support its request for a preliminary injunction which would stop Dr. Lee from beginning work at Google. (The injunction request – and Google’s response to it – is being heard today in Washington state). The injunction makes for damming reading, as it is supposed to – it’s very one sided, of course, but I found it fascinating for what it shows about Microsoft and how clearly vulnerable the company feels in the presence of Google.

Besides the stuff you would expect in such a filing – that Lee violated his non compete agreement, that Google knew what it was getting in hiring him, that Google and MSFT are active competitors – there were some pretty extraordinary facts as well. For example, Microsoft claims that Lee actively tried to get hired by Google, using his knowledge of MSFT’s competitive plans as bait.

From the document:

…”Dr. Lee used his knowledge of Microsoft’s technologies and business strategies to obtain his highly paid position at Google….Shortly after offering his services to Google, and while still in Microsot’s emply, Dr. Lee sent a document he prepared for Steve Ballmer entitled “Making it in China” to Google, after removing the “Microsoft Confidential label from the document….

Much of the dispute seems to turn on whether Lee was in fact working on search technologies that Google might profit from. MSFT argues strongly that he was, in particular in relation to machine learning. But the real fun stuff comes from what Lee apparently knows about Microsoft’s plans to compete with Google.

…Dr. Lee attended a March 24, 2005 highly confidential Executive Staff briefing entitled “The Google Challenge.” Through this briefing…Dr Lee was made aware of: (1) Microsoft’s overarching plan to compete with Google in the search marketplace, (2) specific product characteristics and product components that Microsoft is developing to advance that competition, and (3) specific strategic opportunities identified by Microsoft as the most promising means to compete effectively with Google.

Other tidbits: From a mail now public from Google’s Jonathan Rosenberg regarding recruitment of Lee:

“…I all but insist that we pull out all the stops and close him like wolves. He’s an all star and will contribute in ways that go substantially beyond China.”

MSFT alleges Dr. Lee contacted Eric Schmidt:

…while recruiting for Microsoft’s China R&D operations….(and) Dr Lee began helping Google with its China business plans …while he was still a Microsoft employee.

The document also has details of the package Lee received from Google:

…he was offered an extremely generous compensation package, described internally at Google as “unprecedented”…it included: (1) a signing bonus of $2.5 million, (2) an additional bonus of $1.5 million after the first year, (3) a base salary of $250,000 per year….(4) options for 10,000 shares of Google stock, (5) a grant of 20,000 Google Stock Units over four years (with a value of over $5 million…)

Google also paid for his kids education, a car, and a housing and “hardship” allowance totaling more than $16,000 a month. That is one well paid scientist!

Google has filed an extensive rebuttal to this, which I am digging into now….