free html hit counter December 2005 - Page 2 of 9 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Year End Clearance

By - December 27, 2005

Hope your holidays are going well, mine are keeping me away from posting, but here are a few tidbits worth hanging out there before the year closes:

– As we end 2005, recall the leaked document which put the number of Google AdWords customers at near 400,000, for what it’s worth.

– Yahoo released Travel APIs last week.

– Google foe Carl Icahn invested in

– I continue to enjoy reading Xooglers. This post is fun, and poignant.

– Buzzingo mashes up Google and Yahoo’s Buzz index. Clearly, we like pretty, well endowed girls.

Soonr connects your mobile phone to your desktop. Cool. But I can’t even make my f’ing Treo send mail, so it’ll be a while before I try this.

Gravee launched. The idea: Pay the folks who are in the index. I like the philosophy, not sure if it’ll fly….. But at least they are learning from all the input!

– SEW rounds up all the year end search lists, and the blogosphere as well.

  • Content Marquee

And I Was Overreacting?

By - December 24, 2005

In the book I warned about abuses under the Patriot Act, but this is far worse. And here I thought maybe I was overreacting. From the Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 – The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system’s main arteries, they said.

The article goes on:

…the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.

From the book (page 200, and here’s all PATRIOT references via Amazon Book Search):

By now, you might be a bit concerned about abuse of power

under the PATRIOT Act, but you’re not a foreign agent bent on

the destruction of the United States, and the law is really only in-

terested in foreign agents, after all. Most of this stuff doesn’t apply

to you, does it? In fact, PATRIOT changes the law so that govern-

ment officials no longer have to prove they are after a foreign agent

when they intercept communications. Now, all they have to prove

is that they feel access to your information might be valuable to

their investigation. That’s a pretty broad stroke. Fortunately, a pro-

vision was added that prohibits surveillance “solely on the basis of

activities protected by the First Amendment.” But how does one tell

the difference between your First Amendment right to do searches

about the tactics of terrorists, for example, and the searches of a

real terrorist?

That’s a hard one.

One might argue that while the PATRIOT Act is scary, in times

ofwar citizens must always be willing to balance civil liberties with

national security. Most of us might be willing to agree to such a

framework in a presearch world, but the implications of such broad

government authority are chilling given the world in which we now

live—a world where our every digital track, once lost in the blowing

dust of a presearch world, can now be tagged, recorded, and held in

the amber of a perpetual index.

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”.

MSFT, Google Settle Dr. Lee Suit

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This is all I got, and email from Google PR:

As you know, a trial date had been set for Jan. 9 in the litigation between

Google, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee and Microsoft regarding a one-year non-compete

period. The parties have settled and have the following statements:

“Microsoft, Dr. Lee and Google have reached an agreement that settles their

pending litigation. The Parties have entered into a private agreement that

resolves all issues to their mutual satisfaction. The terms of the

agreement are confidential and all parties have agreed to make no other

statements to the media regarding it. We are pleased with the terms of the

settlement agreement.”

– David Drummond, Google vice president corporate development and general


“I am pleased with the terms of the settlement agreement.”

– Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, president, engineering, product and public affairs, Google


Hacked? Hijacked? Nah, just a Glitch

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Many noticed this morning that my site was oddly…Chinese. Well, it was a glitch as we were moving to a new server, nothing more. Got some index files mixed up, but all is well now. Sorry about that!

Wink Launches

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Wink2I’m taking time off this week, I swear, but much is afoot. Wink launched, for instance. It’s people powered search…much to say about it, will do so soon…Om has a write up here. Congrats, Michael and the Wink team!

Graphics In AdSense

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Adsense Themed Ad2-795000.Gif-1It’s cute, it’s holiday-y, but…it’s graphics in AdSense just the same. These images expire Dec 26th. But I’m guessing the idea will not….Will folks notice this over plain text? Of course they will! (Opt in, natch.)

Predictions 2006

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Nostrad-Tm-3This post marks my third year of making predictions for the coming year. I’m emboldened by not failing utterly in the past two years (well, for the most part), but I am sure this will only ensure that these prognostications will prove immeasurably off the mark. But what the hell, here we go:

1. Someone, and I do not know who, will make a big pile of Big Media video assets freely available on the web – and not via Google Video. This will be a major studio, or television company, which will realize that once you free content, content will come back to you in mashed up and remixed glory that has – holy smokes! – real business models like advertising and retail attached. The deal will be simple: anyone can download, rip, and mix this video, but if you plan to make money from it – even selling ads next to it – you have to cut a deal with the mother ship. The company that does this will be heralded as either visionary, lunatic, or both.

2. Google will stumble, some might say badly, but it will be significant. How? My money is on its second or third major deal – something on the order of the recent AOL deal. It may well be a loss (perceived or otherwise) in the Google Book Search case. Or it might be the privacy issue. This is not to say the company is going to fail, or the stock, for that matter. Just that it will face a major test in 2006 that it won’t pass with flying colors.

3. Speaking of privacy, there will be a major court case involving the database of intentions that gets legislators talking about “protecting the common citizen” (or somesuch) from “the perils of unprotected Internet data mining” (or somesuch).

4. Google and Yahoo will both enter the video (nee television) advertising marketplace.

5. Microsoft will gain five points of search share, at least. But…

6. Vista will launch, and its much anticipated and feared desktop search integration will be viewed as anemic. The whisper as to why? Fear of the DOJ….

7. “Web 2.0” will make the cover of Time Magazine, and thus its moment in the sun will have passed. However, the story that drives “Web 2.0” will only strengthen, and folks will cast about for the next best name for the phenomenon.

8. iTunes will begin to get the speed wobbles as the music industry decides it wants to control its distribution just like in the good old days.

9. The massive telephony industry will begin to crush mammals left and right as its core business model continues a long and painful death dance. “Mammals” are defined as anyone who happens to be in its way as it attempts – scarily but unsuccessfully – to force a two-tiered Internet onto all of us.

10. The pace of Internet startup acquisitions will not be as torrid as most entrepreneurs and VCs had hoped.

11. There will be one major new IPO that briefly gets the press talking about “the Next Google.” But it won’t live up to the hype.

12. It will be a long year of head scratching and simmering disputes in the “content creation” business as the major platforms shift strategy on RSS, in particular, and blogging, broadly. In other words, we won’t get nearly as much accomplished as we hoped. At issue is how content creators export their business model through RSS aggregation platforms. Near the end of the year, though, there will be a breakthrough deal that clarifies business model standards in the RSS space.

13. Mobile. I repeat my mobile prediction from last year, in the hope that it will come true this year: Mobile will finally be plugged into the web in a way that makes sense for the average user and a major mobile innovation – the kind that makes us all say – Jeez that was obvious – will occur. At the core of this innovation will be the concept of search. The outlines of such an innovation: it’ll be a way for mobile users to gather the unstructured data they leverage every day while talking on the phone and make it useful to their personal web (including email and RSS, in particular). And it will be a business that looks and feels like a Web 2.0 business – leveraging iterative web development practices, open APIs, and innovation in assembly – that makes the leap.

14. The China Internet Bubble will begin to deflate.

15. Tivo and NetFlix will merge.

16. I will not write another book, but my publisher will ask me to update the one I did write. I’ll point him to this site and leave it at that….

17. My new business (FM) will grow in fits and starts. By the end of the year, it will either be close to claiming success, or a glorious and noble whiff. Either way, it’ll be one hell of a ride….

As always, thanks to all of you for your feedback, your gracious insights, your not so gracious calling me out when I need calling out, and most importantly, for your support in what has been the most satisfying and energizing year of my professional life.

Happy Holidays and here’s to a Wonderful New Year!

PS – Posting will be light through the New Year…