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Google Tries to Stop The Bleeding (er, Clarifies)

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This afternoon Google issued a press release which seems to say very little, on balance, save telegraphing the fact that Google felt its CFO was speaking a bit too loosely yesterday. This is not the first time Google has had to clarify its CFO’s statements. Remember Reyes on click fraud?

Since that statement, Google has made a point of saying that click fraud is really no big deal.

And now, after Reyes sounds the alarm about growth, Google issues this:

We would like to clarify and provide further information on these statements. As we have stated before, monetization improvements will continue to be a key factor in driving future revenue growth. We still see significant opportunities to improve monetization and intend to continue to focus our efforts in this area.

Moreover, as we have stated in our SEC filings, our revenue growth rate has generally declined over time and we expect that it will continue to do so…

Er, is this equivocation? A slap on the wrist via a press release? No matter what, it ain’t good for Reyes. I am quite sure the triumvirate is, well, pissed at him right now. Paging Sue Decker….

Google and the Law Of Very Large Numbers

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Microsoft’s CFO became famous in the 1990s for his predictions that the company would not grow as quickly as others wished. looks like George Reyes, CFO of Google, is taking a cue. Hey, wait, is this managing expectations on Wall Street, and providing guidance? Whatever it is, GOOG is taking a hit. From a sub required WSJ article:

Google Inc.’s chief financial officer, George Reyes, said the Internet giant’s growth is slowing due to the “law of large numbers” and it will need to find new ways to boost revenue.

The comments, made at an investor conference, surprised Wall Street and triggered a selloff in Google’s shares. In heavy trading, Google shares fell 9%, or $37.70, to $354 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The company’s 18-month effort to boost search monetization by tweaking the advertising system has realized most of the gains possible, Mr. Reyes said. Now growth is being driven mainly by organic factors, like query traffic growth, which he called substantial.

“We’re going to have to find other ways to monetize the business,” Mr. Reyes told attendees of a Merrill Lynch investor conference.

More Catching Up

By - February 27, 2006

TechCrunch covers the launch of Edgeio, which is the creation of one of folks behind TechCrunch (Mike Arrington) among others. The service is a neat idea – you can tag your posts “listings” and edgeio finds your tagged posts and slurps them into a listings metaservice/site. It’s a platform which just might disrupt the directory driven services like eBay and craigslist.

If you like Malcolm Gladwells’s stuff, he’s finally got a blog.

Jeremy agrees with Dion, all your data belongs to you.

Google names a director of its foundation and plans to digitize the National Archives’ video collection, and Om has a bit more on Google Calendar.

Skrenta reminds us that search CPMs are much higher. yes, because in the end, most folks want to find…and then they do, that becomes a chance to search again, and so on…the point of intent drives many more pages of content, and I’d wager that the ratio is equal, if you add up page for page and CPM for CPM…

Google is in court a lot. It lost one on thumbnail images last week (see Paul’s write up), but it’s just the start of the process.

JG Wrote…

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JG wrote: Wasn't there some similar sabre-rattling coming from Bill Gates a few months ago? Read More Read More

Updated: Dumb Filter

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Boing Boing has recently been added to a blacklist of “nudity” related sites run by the US-based company Secure Computing, resulting in its being banned in entire countries – like the UAE, as well as many corporate firewalls. Here’s the editor’s searing response. I think it’s well worth reading. From it:

Today, we’ve learned that Internet Qatar, the sole ISP in the State of Qatar, has also banned BoingBoing.

We’ve heard from librarians in Africa who want to watch the video of the American Register of Copyrights denouncing Congress, employees at the Australian Broadcasting Company, students, and workers around the world who can’t gain access to our work.

At fault is a US-based censorware company called Secure Computing, which makes a web-rating product called SmartFilter. But SmartFilter isn’t very smart. Secure Computing classifies any site with any nudity — even Michaelangelo’s David appearing on a single page out of thousands — as a “nudity” site, which means that customers who block “nudity” can’t get through.

Last week, Secure Computing updated their software to classify Boing Boing as a “nudity” site. Last month, we had two posts with nudity in them, out of 692 — that’s 0.29 percent of our posts, but SmartFilter blocks 100 percent of them. This month, there were four posts with nudity (including the Abu Ghraib photos), out of 618 — 0.32 percent.

In fact, out of the 25,000+ Boing Boing posts classed as “nudity” by SmartFilter, more that 99.5 percent have no nudity at all. They’re stories about Hurricane Katrina, kidnapped journalists in Iraq, book reviews, ukelele casemods, phonecam video of Bigfoot sightings (come to think of it, he doesn’t wear clothes either), or pictures of astonishing Lego constructions.

….The question of keeping your child from viewing content you don’t want them to see can be addressed more efficiently locally, with tech tools like the browser Bumpercar. As BoingBoing founder (and father of two) Mark Frauenfelder explains, “My daughter and I found a bunch of great kid-friendly sites and have added them to the ‘white list.’ As a parent, I have local control of the sites she visits instead of handing over control to a remote group of people that I don’t trust to do my job of being a parent.”

NudityThe fact is, there’s no effective way to censor the Internet in broad strokes. Only dumb CIOs and totalitarian governments like the UAE believe that adding censorware to your network will prevent the naughty stuff from slopping in.

Update: I love this approach to the SmartFilter problem: BB is asking bloggers to post this image (at left) on their site as a protest, in the hopes that soon enough, SmartFilter will be all filtered out.

The Week That Was, and Monday Catch Up

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Lots of stuff I missed, lots going on. To wit:

Google Base has gone (Techcrunch) commercial (GoogleBase blog). Not unexpected. But an important step.

The Google Page Creator. Just a doodle, I’m sure…

The Journal has a free link on its curtain raiser for Google’s analyst day this Thursday. From it: Google’s annual analysts’ day is shaping up as a test of the company’s reluctance to provide financial guidance — and of investors’ tolerance of that tight-lipped approach.

Yahoo is going to stop allowing competitors to bid (SEW) on trademarked terms. This is clearly a differentiation play from Google.

More rumors, here and here, about Google Finance.

A fascinating Googler’s blog here (hat tip to Threadwatch). We were debating whether or not to do a swapping of information with the group and give them some info on how things work at Google, as an exchange for answering our questions. We had decided against it, until the participants came in and sat down, at which point it became clear that a two-way exchange was preferable. I wrote up 3 slides in sixty seconds and delivered an impromptu 5-minute speech.

Gotta run…more coming….

Ask Makes Its Play

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New AskJust back from the week off, and much is up in the search world. I’ll have a roundup later in the day, but the top news for now is Ask, which has declared its intention to become the Fox of the search engine world – in other words, to come into the game late, with low odds, and hope to strike ratings gold. We knew this play was coming – it was clear when IAC and Diller bought Ask. Now the company has declared. Steve Berkowitz, CEO of throws down the gauntlet in the release:

“People deserve a search engine that gives them the tools to get what they need faster, not just a bunch of links on a page. takes search to the next level.”

You’re not sure they’re serious? Diller is keynoting this week’s SES conference, for goodness sake (I won’t be there, focusing on FM then traveling to London later this week). More on all of this in the Ask Blog here.

Gary Price, who is joining Ask from SEW, has some interesting thoughts here.

A summary of the news: As expected, Jeeves is history. It’s now is no more, it’s been rebranded as “ExpertRank”. Ask has a new homepage, a new customizable “toolbox” function, an upgraded Maps feature, and some other features which you can read about in their release here.

What I find interesting is Ask’s decision to compete based on differentiation of approach to sponsored listings.

From the release: now has the fewest ads of any major search destination on the first screen of results. With Smart Answers, is also the only search engine to place editorial results above advertisements.

More on this as it develops.