free html hit counter February 2006 - Page 4 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

ADVISE Me, Baby, Is This Just TIA In New Clothes?

By - February 13, 2006

Tia-TmFrom the CMS (Via ABC):

The U.S. government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity…

…The core of this effort is a little-known system called Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement, or ADVISE. Only a few public documents mention it. ADVISE is a research and development program within the Department of Homeland Security, part of its three-year-old Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment, or TVTA, portfolio. The TVTA received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year….

…What sets ADVISE apart is its scope. It would collect a vast array of corporate and public online information — from financial records to CNN news stories — and cross-reference it against U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement records. The system would then store it as “entities” — linked data about people, places, things, organizations, and events, according to a report summarizing a 2004 DHS conference in Alexandria, Va.

The storage requirements alone are huge — enough to retain information about 1 quadrillion entities, the report estimated. …

..For example: Is a burst of Internet traffic between a few people the plotting of terrorists, or just bloggers arguing? ADVISE algorithms would try to determine that before flagging the data pattern for a human analyst’s review.

…ADVISE “looks very much like TIA,” Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes in an e-mail. “There’s the same emphasis on broad collection and pattern analysis.”

My take on TIA and all this is both in the book, and here.

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Comment Spam

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For a good stretch, my intrepid sysadmin Scot had fought off the robotic legions of pagerank-sucking comment zombies, but they have scaled his javascript embattlements, and we are furiously falling back to fight another day. Bear with us as we figure out next steps…

Target: Google

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Barron’s has a reputation for hitting the darling of the moment in the groin, and this weekend that darling is Google. I have a WSJ sub, I’m not sure this link is open. If it’s not, highlights:

INVESTORS HAVE BEEN FIXATED on Google the past few weeks, as its shares have tumbled nearly 25% from a peak of $475 — and the fact is, there could be a lot more tumbling ahead. The share price could well be cut in half over the next year as the Internet giant grapples with growing competition from Microsoft and Yahoo!, increased pricing pressures in its online ad sales and mounting concern about what’s known as click fraud.

..Over the next year, both Yahoo! and Microsoft’s MSN portal are expected to improve their search offerings. In the second half of this year, Yahoo! hopes to improve its systems so that search-engine ads are more relevant to search results and therefore more likely to be clicked….

…Last week, news came out that has jumped into the game through its network of “associates” — Websites that have links to Amazon and receive fees when readers click the links and buy products. Amazon is offering to place ads from a third party on affiliates’ sites; Amazon and the affiliates would then split the revenue generated by clicks on the third-party ads….

..Finally, there’s the matter of persistent insider selling. As Google starts to spend the $5 billion it raised through two stock offerings in the past year and a half, its senior executives have aggressively sold shares. Co-founders Brin and Page have each sold more than $1.5 billion of stock. CEO Eric Schmidt sold $493 million. Omid Kordestani, senior vice president of global sales and business development, sold $793 million, and Ram Shriram, a director, pocketed $442 million, according to Thomson Financial.

Granted these folks all continue to have substantial holdings in the company, and most of the sales were part of pre-arranged selling programs that Google asked these executives to establish at the time of the IPO. Still, it’s notable that none have purchased shares in the wake of the recent stock pullback. Investors might be wise to follow what they do and not what they say.

Ask Gary

By - February 09, 2006

Gary Price, Search Engine Dude extraordinaire, is leaving Search Engine Watch and going to Ask, where he’ll be Director of Online Information Resources. It’s a loss for all of us and a big win for Ask, we’ll miss him at SEW, but he’ll keep his ResourceShelf site up and running, he tells me! Congrats Gary!

Yahoo Updates MyWeb 2.0

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Yahoo has rev’d MyWeb 2.0. I think the idea is right on, but does anyone else sense that 360 and MyWeb are, well, a bit ahead of Yahoo’s own audience curve?

More Anecdotal Evidence of A Closing CPC Price Gap?

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From the InternetStockBlog, a note about Blue Nile’s earnings, an echo of the FTD call last year.

Blue Nile reported a surprisingly weak 4Q05, in our view, blaming both weak jewelry industry fundamentals and what CEO Mark Vadon called irrational pricing in the pay per click advertising market (although we will continue to believe he said “eRational”). On the conference call, Mr. Vadon stated, “We saw extremely aggressive increases in the cost of online advertising. Our cost per click on Google for example, rose by over 50% from a year earlier. While the cost of online marketing grew significantly in Q4, we remain disciplined in our spending, in order to maintain profitability on new customers rather than to chase unprofitable growth, as some of our competitors have done.”

Google Desktop

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TttIf you had any doubt that Google plans to be a major force in the market that Microsoft dominates, this should erase them. Why do I say this? Well, because Google’s new version of its Desktop software includes Tic Tac Toe, of course. And everyone know that clever operation system companies *always* include a game in their offerings…

Meanwhile, TechCrunch gets into the privacy and other implications.