free html hit counter March 2006 - Page 5 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

What's Up?

By - March 13, 2006

Why is Battelle so … quiet? As with prior dry spells, FM is taking most of my time. We’re in a major growth stage, and much is afoot. It’s cutting into my deep grok time, but I’m also close on bringing in help for Searchblog. So please bear with me…it won’t be long before I’m back a grokkin….

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The Monday Cheat Sheet

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* Search Billionaries. Whaddya know, search is making folks rich.

* TechCrunch is fast becoming *the* place to leak screenshots. Here’s shots of a Google reputation system. This is a big deal, i think. Google is not one to get involved in the messy biz of human relationships. This would mark a turn.

* Keep in mind: Google v DOJ licks off Tuesday. SJMN curtain raiser here.

* More Xoogler insight into early hosting days. Fascinating.

* NYT: Where are all the new MySpaces to buy, dammit!?

* Also in the Times: How buyers search for brands online. Or not.

* New webified Lexis/Nexis. Plan to grok later this week.

Google Is Selling Books

By - March 12, 2006

Back in the day (OK, 18 months ago), Google was quite coy about whether or not it was going to get into the business of marketplace transactions. Since Video and Base came out, however, it’s clear the company is looking to move in on eBay and Amazon, and now the company is in the bookselling business. Welcome to the merchandising business, Google!

Update: I should clarify, that Google as yet is not enabling the selling of physical books, but online access to books. I for one think it’s only a matter of time…


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The site was down for a while this morning, due to a failure upstream at the hosting provider. Posting to resume shortly…

Google Buys Writely

By - March 09, 2006

WritelyIt’s official, Google has purchased the company behind Writely…so can we please just stop pretending Google isn’t interested in every portion of Microsoft’s business? Om broke the news first…

News: AdWords Now Using Demographics

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Adwords Demo-1Google has quietly (I think – no release sent out) rolled out a feature on its AdWords site that allows customers to guide their AdWords purchasing decisions using demographic data such as household income, age, and gender.

How has the company done this? It’s working with Comscore/Media Metrix to stripe domains with Comscore’s panel-based demographic data. I’ll have more on this as I can (have to run to and Etech session) but I did speak with a SVP at Comscore about this, and find this move interesting given Microsoft AdCenter’s demographic plays, and Google’s ongoing tests of site specific targeting.

The Comscore deal is not exclusive – in other words, anyone else, IE Yahoo or MSFT, can cut a similar deal. (Hat tip to reader jboutros).

Updated: Google About to Settle Click Fraud Class Action Suit

By - March 08, 2006

The company has posted on the topic here. My original posting is here. This is clearly not just about the Lane’s suit, it’s about Google rejiggering its policies with regard to click fraud.

From Google’s post:

We’re very near a resolution in that case, so we thought we’d offer an update.

We’ve been discussing the case with the plaintiffs for some time and have recently come to an agreement with them which we believe is a good outcome for everyone involved. As a result, Google and the plaintiffs are going to ask the judge to approve the settlement, which would resolve the case.

Until the settlement is approved by the judge, it is not final. And the details are confidential, but will become public when it is formally filed for the judge’s consideration. However, we can share the major pieces of our proposed agreement.

Google currently allows advertisers to apply for reimbursement for clicks they believe are invalid. They can do this for clicks that happen during the 60 days prior to notifying Google. Under the agreement with the plaintiffs, we are going to open up that window for all advertisers, regardless of when the questionable clicks occurred. For all eligible invalid clicks, we will offer credits which can be used to purchase new advertising with Google. We do not know how many will apply and receive credits, but under the agreement, the total amount of credits, plus attorneys fees, will not exceed $90 million.

What I am not sure I grok is – is this $90 million set aside only for the plaintiffs in the Lanes’ case, or is that the total Google is setting aside for all advertisers, period? I’ve asked Google for clarification. Seems to me, if they are changing their policy, the claims, and the costs, could go well above $90 million.

UPDATE: I have confirmation that indeed, this $90 million covers all US claims. In other words, this is a very small drop in the potential bucket. All US advertisers that have *ever* spent money with Google have the right to make a claim, but the total amount of those claims is capped at $90 million, a pittance compared to the billions that Google has made from AdWords/sense in the last five or so years.

On the one hand, this validates Google’s claim that clickfraud is not that big a deal. On the other, Google settled, and relatively quickly, and probably with the knowledge that a quick settlement was far better than a drawn out, public trial that might make the company look, well, defensive at the best. At the worst, it could have meant a terrible PR nightmare, and a hell of a lot more damages than $90 million. My first take: This settlement is a major victory for Google. Was it good for advertisers? Not sure. But I think the folks at Google are pleased as punch with the deal.