free html hit counter April 2006 - Page 2 of 6 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Updated with Interview: Lanzone Now CEO Of Ask

By - April 24, 2006


So, re-read this interview from last week. Congrats Jim! If only I knew then what we know now…working on getting a few updates from His CEO-ness…

Release here.

Update: Jim was kind enough to answer three questions before he left for SES Italy, where he is slated to give a talk. I asked him, in order – How does it feel?; What about competing with your old boss Steve; and will there be changes at Ask? His answers:

1. How feel?

Steve has been an incredible mentor for me and we had a lot of successes together, so I’m sad to see him go. The good news is that we have a great team in place, including the other CEOs, Scott Garell, who runs the IAC Consumer Applications group (includes iWon, Excite, Smiley Central, MyWay and now Evite) and Paul Gardi, the former Teoma president who is now CEO of IAC Partner Marketing. Together with the other senior leaders here and Barry, Doug and the IAC management team, I think we’ll be in good shape going forward with the IAC Search & Media business. At Ask, I’ve also been lucky enough to build out and amazing team, which truly operates as a team, and we’ll keep building out with more IAC investment.

2. Compete

I don’t know all the details, but my understanding is that Steve’s new role is broader than just search, encompassing all of MSN and Live, as well as the AdCenter group. He’ll have plenty to worry about other than little ole us. On the other hand, he is one of the big boys now. To me, both Google and MSN are like Internet Explorers in search and we’re the Firefox trying to grow in some other way. That doesn’t stop now that Steve is there.

3. Changes?

No, steady on. We feel strongly about our strategy and the way we do business, and we’ll keep pushing forward. The biggest change will be opening our minds to the possibilities of what we can do and who we can be, as IAC invests in our product development and marketing, as well as growing our employee base to accelerate our curve. Its a very different Ask than it was a year ago, and we’ll look different still a year from now. It’s going to be a long fight in our battle against the big boys, but pound for pound, there won’t be a more exciting place to be than Ask.

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By - April 23, 2006

I’ll be moving around the country till Tuesday, so posting will be light. Let’s hope no more CEOs leave one company for another!

News: Berkowitz to Microsoft

By - April 21, 2006

Steve B

(image credit) Rumors have been flying for some time, and I was not posting them. But now I have confirmation. Steve Berkowitz, head of Ask and someone I’ve worked with indirectly in the past (he was at IDG Books when I was at The Standard, an IDG property), is going to run MSFT’s online MSN.


Will take some time to digest this. I had just asked him to speak at Web 2. Now I REALLY want him to speak at Web 2.

An email I just got from MSFT PR, which includes an email from Kevin Johnson, a group president over MSN at MSFT:

Microsoft has hired Steve Berkowitz as SVP of the Online Business Group. He will be responsible for running the Online Business group, which includes include, MSNTV and MSN Internet Access programming, advertising sales, business development, and marketing for Live Platforms, MSN and Windows Live. This team’s mission is to deliver world-class go to market leadership, that wins customers to our services and builds a world leading advertising business. The responsibility for the monetization of our Live Platform, MSN and Windows Live assets is owned by this team, and includes end-to-end management of the online P&L.

As you know, Steve is an accomplished senior executive with a rich skill set, including brand building, marketing operations, people management, finance and tech. Please know that PressPass will be updated shortly with additional information, so please check back shortly. Feel free to call if you have any questions.


I am pleased to announce that Steve Berkowitz will be joining the Platforms and Services Division (PSD) as Senior Vice President, Online Business Group, reporting to me. Steve succeeds David Cole, who will begin his leave of absence in May.

Most recently, Steve was the CEO of, a division of IAC/InterActiveCorp. At Ask, Steve is credited with building the management team that orchestrated the turnaround of, grew their user base, increased customer satisfaction, and gained share in the search market over the last year.

Steve is an accomplished senior executive with a rich skill set, including consumer brand building, media, marketing, operations, people management, finance, and technology. He also brings a great blend of start-up and high growth business experiences. Prior to joining Ask, Steve was the President and COO of IDG Books, where he successfully built a consumer brand by expanding the “Dummies” series of books to cover topics ranging from C++ to pet care.

Steve’s management experience, deep functional knowledge of the search and Internet space, and understanding of both the offline and online publishing worlds make him a great choice to lead the Online Business Group. He is a proven leader, and is excited by the opportunity to take the assets we’ve built in MSN and drive our software + services vision forward.

Steve will start this assignment on May 8th. David Cole and I will work together to ensure a smooth transition to Steve.

Yahoo Research Video Mashup Tool

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Video Remix YahooNow, this is what I’m talkin’ about! From the Yahoo Blog:

As those in the Bay Area may know, today marks the beginning of the 49th annual San Francisco International Film Festival, which shines a spotlight on great independent film projects from all over the world.

This year is a special one for us because the Festival features a web-based video remixer prototype created by Yahoo! Research Berkeley, in partnership with San Francisco Film Society and San Francisco State University Institute for Next Generation Internet.

So, what is this thing? International Remix enables you to create your very own movie mashups. Go crazy with creativity and re-edit, remix and mash-up film selections from this year’s festival into 1-minute remixes. You can then post your remixes to the site gallery for others to view and enjoy.

It ain’t exactly setting Bugs free, nor is is Mr. Murdoch giving away his video on the web….yet. But it’s a start.

Welcome, Melanie!

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Melanie-1Those of you who enjoy my hand wringing about Searchblog’s future will no doubt recall when I posted a job listing for an editorial assistant to Searchblog. I was happily inundated with responses to that call, with folks from all backgrounds contacting me, from PhDs in literature to Masters in Information Sciences, from established journalists to kids still in college.

Deciding on the right fit took a long time, and was further complicated by the fact that the job will split duties with FM – this person needs to not only help make Searchblog better, but also needs to help other authors in the FM network as well.

Well, it’s taken some time, but I’m pleased to announce that Melanie Colburn has joined the team this week. Melanie comes to us most recently from Google, where she had been working as a contractor. Yup, I’m pleased to say I stole her away from the very company I cover so closely, but not to worry – Melanie refuses to even whisper anything about her role there – and it’s that kind of integrity that drew me to her.

Melanie is a Berkeley grad (I’ll admit a slight bias!) and has done a lot of work at various publications and student and activist organizations (here’s her personal site). She’s already helping me in numerous ways, including preparing interviews for publication and grokking the enormous influx of news coming in each day. As time goes by, expect to see a lot of improvements around here, thanks to Melanie. Welcome!

EBay to MSFT, Yahoo: Let's Circle the Wagons Against dem Google Injuns

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The Journal has the story: EBay Talks to Microsoft, Yahoo About a Common Foe: Google

From the piece, which requires paid subscription:

EBay Inc. is talking to both Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to determine whether one of them might be a worthy ally against a common threat: Google Inc.

After years of working closely with the search giant, eBay last year became alarmed as Google started assaulting its turf in multiple ways. In one case, Google launched a classified-advertising service that competes directly with eBay’s online auctions and other listings.

This is driven, of course, by Base, but also by Talk and other apps. The Times has a report that is free, covering the Journal news.

The Long Tail

By - April 20, 2006

LongtailChris’ cover is done. Congrats (and it’s quite something how those NY publishers will push Google onto the cover, eh buddy?! Awfully nice quote from Eric!)

Google Q1

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More to come but just out:

The after hours markets likey.

Google Announces First Quarter 2006 Results

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – April 20, 2006 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)

today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2006.

“Google had an exceptional quarter with strong growth and

profitability, from both Google properties and the network,” said

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. “We are driving this growth through

investments in our infrastructure and our people, product innovations

that attract new users, and relationships with advertisers and partners

around the world. The strength of our business model gives us the

opportunity to invest in our business, allowing us to maintain and grow

our market leadership.”

Q1 Financial Summary

Google reported revenues of $2.25 billion for the quarter ended March

31, 2006, an increase of 79% compared to the first quarter of 2005 and

an increase of 17% compared to the fourth quarter of 2005. Google

reports its revenues, consistent with GAAP, on a gross basis without

deducting traffic acquisition costs, or TAC. In the first quarter of

2006, TAC totaled $723 million, or 32% of advertising revenues.

Google News

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Is coming fast.

Miro Res

First, you know I am not a huge fan of the doodles, but I like today’s – celebrating Miro. (My favorite is still Braille….)

Next, Google Page Creator is now open to anyone with a Google account. (Thanks Rick)

A major piece on Google (and others) and China is coming from the NYT Magazine.

Om finds MSFT is preparing a response to Google in storage.

Google Cars? Yup, another Base implementation.

Calendar now has an API.

Inevitable: Google using Flash ads to promote itself.