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Google: Uh, No

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I like the tone of this post refuting the widespread coverage of Eric’s click fraud comments. It feels….like Google being part of a conversation. I wish it came a bit quicker, but it’s worth a read.

Update: Donna Bogatin responds to Google’s response…she’s pissed….

KinderStart: Case Not Quite Closed

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A federal judge threw out KinderStart’s sweeping lawsuit against Google yesterday, but left the door open for the whole thing to start again. The key thing here, I think, is the concept of “objectivity”. From ZDNet coverage:

(Judge) Fogel wrote that a PageRank score reflects Google’s opinions, and suggested that a score generated by a computer algorithm is likely not defamatory. But if KinderStart can prove a case of “manual intervention” by Google, Fogel wrote, the outcome might be different.

Interview: Jonathan Miller, AOL

By - July 12, 2006


My interview with AOL’s Jonathan Miller is up now on CNN/B2.0.

Excerpts:’s true that too much of our innovation was locked behind the subscriber wall. It was less than a year ago that AOL moved out onto the Web, launching, which is such a good broadband portal that our friends at Yahoo (Charts) have redesigned their homepage to look a whole lot like it.

…AIM turns out to be more extensible than I think anybody would have imagined. As it turns out, it can be used for real-time voice communication, not just text. Adding in video chat and other things is another opportunity.

….All the players are trying to do the same fundamental things: e-mail, search, and now social networking. MySpace is the newest entrant – the new kid on that block, if it turns out they have real staying power.

The new entrant before them was Google. Everyone else in the rest of the group -Yahoo, Microsoft, and so on – is more than 10 years old, which I think is important to consider. Achieving one of those primary positions is genuinely difficult; it doesn’t happen every day.

I’m less concerned about them and more concerned about the startups and other companies that might be gaining on us. If a hundred companies achieve the kind of scale we have, then the pie gets much more fragmented. As it is, there’s plenty to go around between Yahoo and us and the others. …

…Are we ready for a partial spinoff that would give us a stock currency of our own? We’re still not quite there. This year we are very much in a process of transitioning the business. And there are very positive signs.

….What’s your takeaway from the Google deal?

Well, I think the process reminded people that AOL has real value on the Web, and it was nice to be wanted. I think that was healthy for our company. We had to decide whether to extend a great partnership with Google or start competing with it. At the end of the day, it was too much of a jolt to leave Google.

And at crunch time, Google indicated a willingness to do some things with us that hadn’t been on the table before, like letting us sell search ads directly to our advertisers and making a $1 billion investment in us. On the other side, with Microsoft, it was difficult to figure out how to run the proposed business.

Ted Stevens, Remixed by The Internets

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Blog+Image Thumb SeriesoftubesA series of tubes, is what Senator Ted Stevens called the Internet. He has no idea what he’s talking about, but he’s against net neutrality, that’s for sure, and he is, in fact, a major voice in the debate. Scary? Yeah. All you need to know, really, can be found here. Really. Listen. It’s so….good. (Thanks, Bill Gibson).

Nat Does the Valley

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Nat Torkington of O’Reilly is touring the Valley and talking to interesting companies, and writing up his thoughts. They are very good. So far he’s done Meebo and Ning.

It's Summer, So It Must Be Time for "Mine Is Bigger Than Yours"

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Yesterday Hitwise blogged a striking discovery: MySpace is bigger than anyone online. Well, sort of anyway – the fine print read:

… has surpassed Yahoo! Mail as the most visited domain on the Internet for US Internet users.

Today, Yahoo begged to differ, issuing its own release. From the Mail & Guardian online coverage:

Yahoo! rejected the claim as “misleading” because it ranked the search engine’s domains such as search, news, and e-mail separately instead of adding them together.

Reminds me of last summer

About Time, And Congrats, Wired

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Wiredwiredwired 1

When I left Wired in 1997, the company was in the midst of a very complicated financial transaction, the end of which was the splitting of Wired magazine from Wired Digital and Wired News. From that point on, the magazine was hobbled by not having its own domain, nor control of its own digital destiny. Now that oddity has been rectified, finally. I very much hope Conde Nast plans to let the newly reunited Wired brand sprout online wings and truly fly. Congrats, Wired! (image via Chris Anderson’s site)

And by the way, Chris’s book The Long Tail is #4 on Amazon today. His book launched this week, to great reviews, and I am so pleased for him. And check out what Amazon thinks is a good match:


Will AOL Follow The Free?

By - July 11, 2006

Aol Gl LogoIn a public article, the Journal today has details on AOL’s proposal to take portions of its service free.

Time Warner Inc. expects its AOL unit to sacrifice nearly $1 billion of operating profit through 2009 under a proposed plan to offer the online service free of charge to some customers, according to internal company forecasts. The company, however, is also forecasting that growth in Internet ad revenue will partially offset the expected decline in subscription revenue and ultimately leave the company more profitable.

The new proposal would cut roughly in half profit from AOL’s sale of Internet subscriptions in the U.S. in the next three years, the forecasts show, from $1.6 billion this year to about $800 million in 2009. According to the forecasts, AOL, which has 18.6 million U.S. subscribers now, would end up with just over six million by the end of 2009…

…If AOL fails to meet growth targets for ad sales, Time Warner could take a substantial hit to its bottom line. The online division accounts for about 20% of its operating profit.

AOL’s internal forecasts estimate revenue from sales of domestic Internet subscriptions to drop by a staggering $2.7 billion over the next three years, from about $4.2 billion this year to about $1.5 billion in 2009…

..The plan, to be put to Time Warner’s board at the end of the month, comes as Wall Street has been pushing Time Warner executives to take decisive action to fix AOL. The Internet division’s woes have weighed on the company’s stock price for several years. Time Warner stock has fallen 11% since February.

The real question here is whether TW will let AOL pursue this, or if its content/cable roots will get in the way. If in fact this battle is lost inside TW, I wonder if Jonathan Miller will stick around. A guy can take just so much internal politics. Just a thought. …

Round Up

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ExactSeek search launches in beta, with an index of over 100 million documents and growing. ExactSeek accepts url submissions to its index, which provides a subject directory, covering the web, images, news, articles, and weblogs.

Baidu Space

Baidu, the dominant search engine in the world’s second largest internet market, plans to launch a blogging platform, on Thursday, with keyword search. It joins “formidable challengers” including “Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google,, and (SEJ)”

Scaling chores at Google

“Google Engineering is different,” wrote Peter Norvig on the Google Research Blog in February. “We’re different, and we like it that way.” eWeek takes an interesting look at how Google extends its automatized mentality to the commonplace tasks of keeping books and files every business must handle.

Cult or Corporation?

The Register takes a snarky look at Google’s modus operandi. Meanwhile, a piece at Short-Media analyses why “we” love Google but hate the RIAA.

API ovation

Google publishes a list of the most popular developers around the world, by downloads of their gadgets.

Anti-Trust Threat

If you didn’t already catch this, Google made known it will not hesitate to press an anti-trust suit if net neutrality is uprooted through the telecommunications restructuring.

Picture 5-4Barcodepedia

On this social site, one can upload barcodes via webcam into a shared database. A reader wrote in that Barcodepedia sounded a lot like the “building block for [the] ‘wine’ example” that Battelle used in The Search. (Thanks Brandon) (slashdot)