The past few months have not been fun. I feel like I’ve let you, my community of readers and conversants, down, and I’ve failed to do what I really love to do – think out loud about what all this really means.
Why this mea culpa? Well, you all have called me out in the past, and this time, I wanted to be in front of the curve. As I wrote back in August: “It’s real work to write a good site, even when you have the support of an entire community. It needs at least a few hours a day, if not more. Just responding to the PR requests, along with doing original reporting, can take up to half a day.”
I’ve said before that the reason I started FM was to create the company that will, in the end, allow me to get back to what I love to do, which is to make sites like this. But we’re not there … yet. The more we work on FM, the more I believe we’ll get there. We’ve been growing in the double digits in sales month over month over month. Great advertisers like GM, Intel, Absolut, and scores of others have joined us, and we’re at nearly 60 sites with dozens more coming in the coming months.
But in the meantime….
….every day I get about 20 or so pitches from really great companies with really great ideas. They just want an hour, or half an hour, or 15 minutes to give me a demo of their great new application, or product, or launch, or new feature. And I wish I had nothing but time to actually take those calls, and see all that great stuff, and then write up my thoughts.
But I don’t. I’m running a startup, and a major conference, and I need to focus on that. Just trying to get back to everyone that contacts me takes more time than I have to give. But because I’m odd, or anal, or both, I take the time to email back, or call back, and try like mad to schedule those demos if I can.
But it has to stop. I’m canceling more calls than I’m taking, and I’m disappointing a lot of folks – especially folks who actually take the time to show me something, only to find out that I don’t have the time to post on what they’ve spent years developing.
So, unhappily, I have to redefine what I’m going to do on this site, and, I hope, get your input on what you want.
From now on, I propose that there will be no product reviews on Searchblog. None – not even reviews of new stuff from the majors like Amazon, Yahoo, Google, or AOL. Instead, we’ll focus on two things.
One, Melanie, who has been doing a great job of rounding up news on a two to three times weekly basis, will be posting as news comes in, keeping all of you abreast of noteworthy items in the search and media space. And two, I’ll be writing more thoughtful pieces of analysis, probably less frequently, but with more consideration (I hope). But reviewing products? Not going to happen in the near term. Sure, I’ll note the quick this or that (like the DOJ requesting that all Internet companies keep a two year Database of Intentions), but I can’t take the time to learn about every new product in the space. So all you folks in PR – take note. I can’t do it anymore, and I hope you understand. I’ll be pointing you to this post from now on. Please keep us in the loop (ie, send releases!), and I hope to get back to the trenches soon. And please, let me know what you think. I value your input more than you know.
… 55 Ways, in fact. Philipp Lenssen has a website, Google Blogoscoped, that I read every day. When he told me he was working on a fun book about Google, I was excited – he’s a great observer of all things Google, and in particular, the funny, fun, and obscure. His book is now out - I can’t wait to read it. Way to go, Philipp!
Nope, not kidding. From USAToday –
Top law enforcement officials have asked leading Internet companies to keep histories of the activities of Web users for up to two years to assist in criminal investigations of child pornography and terrorism, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller outlined their request to executives from Google, Microsoft, AOL, Comcast, Verizon and others Friday in a private meeting at the Justice Department. The department has scheduled more discussions as early as Friday. Last week’s meeting was first reported by CNET, an online news service.
Great summary sent by email to me by Robert Peck of Bear Stearns:
Google held a Q&A conference call with analysts yesterday. There were 10 incremental takeaways from the call including the following: 1) Breakthroughs Likely in Branded Advertising Over the Next Year; 2) No Plans to Introduce a Browser at the Moment; 3) Google Base Won’t Be A Large Separate Site; 4) Wi-fi Deployment Effort To Increase Usage of Google; 5) Behavioral Targeting Holds More Promise Than Demographic Targeting; 6) Rising Competition Should Benefit Google and Yahoo / Keyword Prices Should Continue to Rise; 7) Quality Scores Are Keyword Based Only / Testing Improvements to Current Model; 8) Dell Deal to Be Cash Positive to Google Over the Term of the Contract; 9) Local Search is a Significant Portion of Their Business; 10) Traction in China and Korea Will Take Time.