free html hit counter July 2006 - Page 6 of 7 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Too Clever By 14%

By - July 10, 2006

Eric Schmidt’s recently discovered comments (via Donna Bogatin) about click fraud have got a number of folks headscratching. I’ve long concluded that for advertisers, click fraud is a tax, one that they will bear until it gets too onerous (in other words, until the cost of fraud outpaces the return of CPC advertising). Journalists lick their chops at perhaps someday breaking this story wide open. But if there is a larger story here, it will be broken by a deep throat inside Google, not by anyone else. That’s where the truth can be found.

Fact is, we have no idea how much click fraud there really is. Recent reports put it at 14%, but whatever it is, it’s a real issue in the minds of Google’s customers, and making light of it sounds entirely off key. By calling the problem “self correcting” Google forgets that it profits from fraud, and that’s a PR problem, if nothing else.

From Donna’s post:

Schmidt indicates, however, that Google engineers think it is “great fun” to try and get ahead of click fraud:

“But because it is a bad thing, because we don’t like it, because it does, at least for the short-term, create some problems before the advertiser sees it, we go ahead and try to detect it and eliminate it.”

It sounds like Google is “doing the advertiser a favor,” rather than attacking and acknowledging a real issue in the minds of its customers. Seems to me that beating fraud isn’t about having fun, it’s about insuring your customers’ trust in your business.

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Yahoo Trip Planner launches

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Picture 2-8On Sunday, Yahoo Travel launched Trip Planner, a CPC ad-based search that drives traffic to online travel booking sites (earlier glimpsed here in beta). Yahoo hopes to secure a foothold in an increasingly tight travel market by integrating user generated content, including sharable trip albums and photo journals. In a Forbes interview, a Yahoo rep says that although the growth in the online travel market is slowing as it matures, the pressure on travel sites to find new sources of traffic will only drive demand for Trip Planner.

[Update: A Yahoo! PR rep. felt that Trip Planner is better described as an “online travel research resource,” although it also serves the function of driving monetized search traffic.]


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Publisher’s Clearing House has acquired Blingo (site). Shoulda seen THAT ONE coming. PCH was the main salve for the magazine industry in the 80s and 90s – it was basically a sweepstakes that drove shitloads of magazine subscriptions. Folks usually subscribed to the magazines because they thought it’d increase their chances of winning the big prize. But in the late 90s the magazine auditors cracked down on PCH, and it really hurt the business. They lost their main customer and had to diversify. Well, here’s the answer – giving stuff away when you search. Hey, it probably makes ’em money…

Safa: Google and Yahoo Poised for Good Quarter

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Over the weekend I got some research (PDF file) from Safa of Piper which says Yahoo and Google are going to have a better quarter than he originally thought.

We expect strong results from Google and Yahoo next week and, given current valuations, we believe the stocks will react positively. The continued strength of search in a seasonally slow Q2, which in the past has been disappointing, could be a major catalyst for the Internet sector which continues to trade near trough valuations.

(more coverage at Eric Savitz‘s blog)

More GDrive Tantalizers

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Philipp finds yet more evidence of a Google personal computing environment, hard drive and all, and he finds it connected to Writely, the online word processor Google picked up a while back.

Fail Fast, Scale Fast

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Tim has a great post on his conversations with Microsoft’s Debra Chrapaty, VP of Operations for Windows Live.

People talk about “cloud storage” but Debra points out that that means servers somewhere, hundreds of thousands of them, with good access to power, cooling, and bandwidth. She describes how her “strategic locations group” has a “heatmap” rating locations by their access to all these key limiting factors, and how they are locking up key locations and favorable power and bandwidth deals.

..As Shakespeare said, “The game’s afoot.” Debra put more servers into production in the last quarter than she put in place in all of the previous year, and she thinks this is just the beginning. Operations used to be thought of as boring. It’s now ground zero in the computing wars.

Krugle Goes Public Beta This Week

By - July 08, 2006

Krugle, an open source code search engine, quietly launched its public beta this week. I wrote about it previously here, when it launched its alpha.

Sergey, you can have any size index you want!

By - July 07, 2006

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The Journal covers disputes (paid reg) around Air Brin & Page.

Now the Delaware holding company that technically owns the 767, Blue City Holdings LLC, is embroiled in multiple lawsuits with an aviation designer hired to plan and oversee the massive plane’s interior renovation.

…Messrs. Brin and Page “had some strange requests,” including hammocks hung from the ceiling of the plane. At one point he witnessed a dispute between them over whether Mr. Brin should have a “California king” size bed, he says. Mr. Jennings says Mr. Schmidt stepped in to resolve that by saying, “Sergey, you can have whatever bed you want in your room; Larry, you can have whatever kind of bed you want in your bedroom. Let’s move on.” Mr. Jennings says Mr. Schmidt at another point told him, “It’s a party airplane.”

Major insights into how the triumvirate manages Google, to be sure. “Sergey, you can have any size index you want!”

The article has pictures of the interiors as well. The interiors look pretty lux, but overall, this is not a pretty picture.

Update: Scott asked, I looked, and the article is tossed over the freewall at the Journal here. I’ve added a pic given that they have released this one into the wild. Man, will the Journal just get over the paid stuff and blow it out already?

round up

By - July 06, 2006

Yahoo Ready!

Mobile access to Yahoo mail, IM, and contacts is now live in Ready beta.

“Did you Mean” my company?

Companies can EgoGoogle to see if Google turns them up as a spelling correction for multiple terms. Of course, some companies will display as top results even when the terms are separated.

Free Live Calls

Windows Live Local offers free calls for listed businesses. Search and find a business, enter your phone number, and Live will call both parties. In beta, it’s available only in the US and cell phone charges still apply. Resource Shelf gives it thumbs-up on functionality, but speculates it could be the ‘click-fraud’ (annoy-competitors-to-death weapon).


Trumalia is a search engine with riddles, and prizes, via SEL describes it as “a Search-entertainment Engine for Riddle Lovers and Artists”


Searchles socializes bookmarking, making friends’ or wider circles of bookmarks serachable. Launched last week, plans underway to integrate Dumfind.

Clickfraud cost an est. $800m last year

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Clickfraud cost an estimated $800 million for advertisers in false hits last year, reports the Financial Times today, based on study by a media firm called Outsell.

And “more than a quarter of them have reduced their spending as a result…” Google, Yahoo and MSN, “have avoided putting a number on the incidence of click fraud but Outsell said it averaged 14.6 per cent of all clicks billed to advertisers, even after Google and others had filtered out those ones they believed to be invalid. The 14.6 per cent equates to $800m of the $5.5bn US search engine market in 2005.”

However the number could be off by magnitudes in either direction, Danny Sullivan points out that “half the advertisers in the survey also reported they do nothing to audit whether they have click fraud happening or not. So Outsell asked them to estimate the percentage of clicks that are fraudulant, and half of them essentially guessed — and that’s making up this industry stat? It could be far less or far more than this guesswork is stating.”