free html hit counter Google Clarifies - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Clarifies

By - December 22, 2005

On the AOL announcement.

I want to take this at face value. But that’s not my inclination. Talking to Google in the next few days, and as usual, I am sure there will be clarity there. But for now, why am I skeptical? Because, well, I’ve negotiated with AOL. And talked to a lot of folks who have. And Microsoft pushed hard to win this, very hard. I find it difficult to believe Parsons and Miller settled for “help us get smarter about how to be indexed by you, Google. Thanks very much.”

Watch the language on the Onebox, and also, the organic crawl. When Google says: “Indexing more of AOL’s content. Our goal is to organize all of the world’s information. When we say “all the world’s information,” this includes AOL’s. We’re going to work with the webmasters at AOL — just as we work with webmasters all over the world — to help them understand how the Google crawler works (with regard to robots.txt, how to use redirects, non-html content, etc.) so we don’t inadvertently overlook their content.”



I think to myself: Er, you’ve been an AOL partner – in a very major way – for more than five years. And you’re NOW just getting around to this? AOL has never talked to Google about redirects? Indexing non HTML content? Robots.txt? I find that, well, hard to believe. Something is not quite adding up.

I know that AOL has had a non standard content management solution (I think it was called Rainman if I recall correctly), and I know that AOL has been a bit bipolar about whether content is on or off the open web. But….this strikes me as kerfluffle. There’s something else going on. If there’s not, well, OK then. Then AOL is deeply, deeply lame. And, honestly, so is Google, because it seems to me that before you decide to go scan every book in the world, you might drop a dime to your most important partner, and ask if you can help them index their content as well. AOL made its major “open web” announcement in the Fall of 2004. Just a thought, as I drop into Holiday land….

PS – From a UBS report (Ben Schachter) that just came in:

Google AOL: Additional Detail from the 8-K



July 1, 2008 potential liquidity event

Under the terms of the agreement, beginning on July 1, 2008, GOOG will have certain rights to register its 5% stake in AOL for sale in an IPO. Time Warner will retain the right to purchase that 5% stake for an “appraised fair market value” in lieu of an IPO.
(See my previous post on this issue here)

5 key operational details not in previous press release

1) The agreement runs for 5 years, 2) There are revenue guarantees, 3) We believe the TAC rates remain at 85% (our est.), the same as under the previous deal, 4) GOOG also gets 15% (our est.) revenue share when AOL sells sponsored search listings directly to its AOL advertisers, 5) a GOOG Talk user will need to register with the AIM service in order to communicate with AIM users.

Details still to be negotiated

While AOL and GOOG have agreed to extend their strategic partnership pursuant to terms announced in their recent joint press release, many operational details remain to be negotiated. The 8-K states that these will be negotiated by 1Q06, and that any remaining issues will go to “binding expedited arbitration”.


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20 thoughts on “Google Clarifies

  1. John says:

    OK as more details leak out I’m inclined to think that this is going to turn out to be a GREAT deal for TWX.

    In addition to the defensive value, Google is going to get a sizable investment gain from their 5% stake. The flip side for Google is that this looks like it is going to have a negative effect on their Yield on the SERPs once AOL starts taking credit for their own KW traffic.

    Lots of intrigue left though in watching what Microsoft does to counter this alliance.

  2. soxiam says:

    One word: amen. That whole piece on Google blog sounded more like a cookie-cutter PR piece written by the lawyers. And the real danger is I think Google might believe everyone’s naive enough to just take their word for it. But of course people ARE naive when it comes to certain things — such as being force fed by main stream media and liking it. If enough negative articles come out (like it has been from New York Times and other sources), people will change their perceptions of Google. An empire is evil if it’s perceived as being evil. It doesn’t take much more than that. I think Google should start thinking seriously about PR and they should start right now. “Do no evil” in their mission statement will only carry them so far if it’s offset by bad press. Bad press sticks, far longer than good press.

  3. It is possible that Yahoo or Microsoft may counter this by investing or partnering with another Search Engine – in the past two years, they have ALL followed each other’s strategies…

    So, the one obvious possibility is …..
    ASK JEEVES
    This does NOT appear to be so far fetched, having Ask and Teoma could add to Yahoo or MSN search Share especially now that Ask is Growing
    in market share…

    other possibilities are…

    Lycos
    Excite
    HotBot
    Go
    My Way
    Dogpile

    It will be fascinating to watch how they will counter — but SOMETHING is DEFINITELY in the works ;-)

  4. It’s analysis like this that keeps me reading this blog every day. I often find this whole game of web/search domination to be quite confusing and overwhelming. Your straight-talking analysis helps bring clarity to it.

  5. Chunni Babu says:

    Nice points John. I almost got duped by Marissa’s clarification, until your analysis opened my eyes. Yeah claiming that additional AOL demands were about handling robots.txt is kindof ridiculous. I should have known better, In here interview here http://alan.blog-city.com/an_evening_with_googles_marissa_mayer.htm she claims that google’s founders did not know html! what? and yet they were somehow able to write a top search engine to parse and search html document! Got to keep my BS filter more alert while reading stuff from Google folks, particularly Marissa.

  6. Chunni Babu says:

    Nice points John. I almost got duped by Marissa’s clarification, until your analysis opened my eyes. Yeah claiming that additional AOL demands were about handling robots.txt is kindof ridiculous. I should have known better, In here interview here http://alan.blog-city.com/an_evening_with_googles_marissa_mayer.htm she claims that google’s founders did not know html! what? and yet they were somehow able to write a top search engine to parse and search html document! Got to keep my BS filter more alert while reading stuff from Google folks, particularly Marissa.

  7. Joe Hunkins says:

    Thank GOODNESS for some critical analysis of the search-related terms of the AOL deal. I brought this up at several other blogs and have been amazed at the lack of concern over Google jumping into bed with AOL and then helping with their organic listings.

    This “clarification” smells like boilerplate BS to me – next is Google going to say “After spending $1,000,000,000 AOL really twisted our arms and, after great deliberation, we decided to give in and email them a link to the URL for the Google webmaster guidelines”.

  8. jozef Imrich says:

    Many thanks John for checking and refactchecking,

    Inside the cyberspace, we are all winners as blogs provide a filter against information overload and bull****. Often people say to me – I have no time to read any blogs … however, it is the exact opposite of the truth. Blogs are a very efficient way of filtering information; they consolidate information.

    Next year will be bigger than ever. Take it easy, run a risk, have fun, go for it!

  9. khabri says:

    This is just one of the things I am speculating as Google likes to keep the terms closed. If you have noticed, Google is aggressively spending and supporting to get FireFox installed on as many clients as possible. AOL’s proprietary and lousy client uses Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the engine to drive. If Dr. Eric Schmidt was careful in spelling terms of the deal, then I am sure he wouldn’t have missed this clause of integrating FireFox browser in AOLs client throwing away Internet Explorer.

    Latest statistics from W3Schools indicate that Non-IE browsers have a market share of 33% with FireFox leading at 19.6%. If Google replaces FireFox as the engine in AOL client, then expect FireFox to gain significantly over Microsoft’s IE.

  10. Andre says:

    very good critical analyse, thanks john

  11. mike says:

    This “clarification” smells like boilerplate BS to me – next is Google going to say “After spending $1,000,000,000 AOL really twisted our arms and, after great deliberation, we decided to give in and email them a link to the URL for the Google webmaster guidelines”.

    LOL/ROFL

    i want the mailaddy of the google admin too :D

  12. mike says:

    Nice points John. I almost got duped by Marissa’s clarification, until your analysis opened my eyes. Yeah claiming that additional AOL demands were about handling robots.txt is kindof ridiculous. I should have known better, In here interview here http://alan.blog-city.com/an_evening_with_googles_marissa_mayer.htm she claims that google’s founders did not know html! what? and yet they were somehow able to write a top search engine to parse and search html document! Got to keep my BS filter more alert while reading stuff from Google folks, particularly Marissa.

    what do you mean with the BS filter?

  13. Joe Hunkins says:

    Merry Christmas to all!
    …. and a special Happy Holidays to agents Smith, GW, and Dick who are all monitoring our emails and calls today to make sure the internet is used only in the pursuit of truth, justice, god-fearing, rendering unto Caesar, American Judeo-Christian ways.

  14. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Next year will be bigger than ever. Take it easy, run a risk, have fun, go for it!

    Stephan

  15. mike says:

    Watch the language on the Onebox, and also, the organic crawl. When Google says: “Indexing more of AOL’s content. Our goal is to organize all of the world’s information. When we say “all the world’s information,” this includes AOL’s. We’re going to work with the webmasters at AOL — just as we work with webmasters all over the world — to help them understand how the Google crawler works (with regard to robots.txt, how to use redirects, non-html content, etc.) so we don’t inadvertently overlook their content.”

    and every month works the crawler different from the month before.

  16. Jonathan Mendez says:

    Relevancy=ROAS

    Savvy online marketers know the returns they can get for clients on strategic DMA and demo tartgeted campaigns. 20 million AOL profiles for Google’s ads and a piece of that action for AOL… and just as Google is pushing heavily to go serve your rich media too.

  17. Joe Hunkins says:

    Sorry, meant to post above with the NSA Article. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

  18. Mike says:

    thanks. i have crawl and nothing found what about BS, but Bull**** is correct.

  19. Joe says:

    Just fyi, RAINMAN is not AOL’s “content management solution.” Rather, it is a relatively one-dimensional page layout solution. Used by AOL’s precursor QuantumLink (and then AppleLink Personal Edition, PC-Link, Promenade, and the earliest AOL betas in 1990-1), it obviously pre-dated HTML by a few years. RAINMAN vaguely resembles HTML (although every command is different), in that a RAINMAN page begins with a header (like “/group 3221.news”) and a password (like “/pass secretword”) which was followed by commands which designated the type of page, the text on the page, any buttons and their links, and the like. Although you could link to searchable databases (like an external newswire, for example, or a travel deals resource or the like), those databases were entirely separate from the simplistic RAINMAN page description language.