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IAC Buys Into Content

By - August 15, 2006

I had a very intersting meeting last week with Michael Jackson, the man Barry Diller has appointed as the head of interactive programming for IAC. He’d been in New York, the Valley, and LA trolling for new ideas. Seems he’s found one – this morning IAC announced they had bought a controlling interest in Connected Ventures, which runs, among many other things. I’ve known and worked with Josh Abramson, one of the founders, at Boing Boing and FM. Congrats to him, and to IAC, which seems primed to do more deals like this one.

Google's New Video Tab – What Does It All mean?

By - August 14, 2006


Just off the phone with an AP reporter (Jessica Mintz, sharp reporter from the Journal who moved over) who was grokking the fact that Google has added Video to its hallowed first tier of search options on the home page, and relegated Froogle to a pop up window off the “more” link. Does this mean Google is reacting to YouTube? Well, yes, of course, but also, Google is following the users, who told Google via YouTube’s popularity that video means a lot to them, and that Google was failing to give the users what they want. And Google is also reacting to the market, which is saying it wants as much video advertising as it can buy. Will moving Video to better real estate mean Google Video will overtake YouTube? That is the billion dollar question. Google’s recent moves with Viacom and MySpace may position the company as the “safe” alternative to YouTube, one could presume – and the company does have one hell of a network to work with AdWords/sense. But do the consumers want Google video? Despite the initial hit of traffic, it all comes down to community, methinks, and that’s what Google so far has not done as well as others.

Google As Napoleon

By - August 12, 2006

EcongoogRemember when I posted about that Haas School of Business Study that I was interviewed for? Well, the Economist has read it now, and has an article keyed off both the study and the recent Google/MTV/MySpace deals here. The piece compares Google with Napoleon. Really.


By - August 11, 2006

Hey esteemed readers –

I’m a bit loopy after my shoulder surgery, and won’t be posting much till the Percocet wears off. Meanwhile, how is it that the damn spammers always know when I’m offline?

round up

By - August 10, 2006

Web 2.0 short doc

TechCrunch’s Arrington delivers a 24 min. documentary, asking Silicon Valley leaders and start-up founders to define and discuss Web 2.0–what is it, and for how long? link

Two blogs born per second

Technorati’s latest state of the blogosphere, from David Sifry. Today, the blogosphere is doubling in size every 200 days, or about once every 6 and a half months. link

Google The Musical Press 2 CopyGoogle…the musical

The Minnesota Fringe Festival is putting on an electronic musical about Google. A dark-comedic fable, the musical depicts what would happen if Google disappeared one day—after taking over the world, one thought at a time.” Philipp has a detailed synopsis and review. link

Google Checkout expands

Google Checkout has now acquired more than 180 retailers and adds new categories—including Arts & Crafts, Beauty, Clothing, Home & Garden, Kids, Sports, Shoes, and Health. As Comparison Engines notes, there’s no integration with Froogle yet–but that must be on the way.

Blogging for the search engines

By - August 09, 2006

As the search engine space grows and companies proliferate, bloggers within the engines are becoming an important human voice and point of contact for the public, competitors, and SEOs. At the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose this morning, Danny Sullivan hosted a panel with Matt Cutts from Google, Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo!, Niall Kennedy from MSN, and Gary Price from Ask. Here are some of the views they shared on ‘Speaking unofficially as search engine bloggers’:

On keeping perspective:

Gary says he tries to walk the middle ground, blogging about MSN, Yahoo, and Google more than Ask—and the company encourages him to do so. All four say don’t let the PR department hinder them, though they sometimes give PR a heads-up. Also, though they write with independent voices, letting the company know a critical post is coming out will sometimes solicit more candid company updates. Gary says he tries to make Resource Shelf all things to all people—for the search companies, the SES crowd and library/reference professionals.

When company bloggers are the news:

Danny Sullivan asks if they avoid press coverage. Cutts says he just tries to be so monumentally boring and technical that the media won’t cover it, and says he’s been largely successful (though this editor disagrees that engagement quality is the cause). Zawodny says he keeps a news alert on his name, so he can sigh deeply every time a reporter attributes his comments in a Yahoo exposé. Kennedy says his blog has become one more end-point in a 72 million person company—helping people with specific needs connect with the company.

Are they PR guys?

Matt and Gary say no—Matt uses non-Google products (wordpress not blogger, etc) and Gary’s post up today is a positive piece on Google. While Matt says Zawodny is ballsy for listing out failures of Yahoo Finance, Jeremy follows up that indeed in some sense he is a PR guy. Once he let it slip that he hadn’t gone through media training, within a week that’s where he found himself.

“My exercise in figuring out where the line was repeatedly crossing it and then be told that I crossed it. Lawyers have come into my office three times.”— Zawodny.


Price says weekly emails are still crucial to distributing blog content, aside from an RSS feed—which is rising but still not familiar to the larger audience. Zawodny likes to schedule postings – rattling-off a few and letting posts distribute automatically.

Gary, self-described as not the biggest fan of RSS syndication, says Ask is now playing with displaying the last three updated posts from a related feed above the organic results. Zawodny says he likes the feature and has been using it.

Vlogs, Podcasts

“You can write for 45 min. and say what does and doesn’t work. Or you can talk for five minutes and if you’re lucky someone will transcribe it for you,” says Cutts on the advantage of video (in reference to his recent foray with vlogging). He says there have been 80,000 downloads of Cutts’ random SES video Matt did on a weekend while the wife was away, but he’ll primarily stick with his blog.

Gary says Jim Lazone and he are going to start a podcast. Perhaps one aimed at the SES crowd, and another at the K-12 crowd who need so much help in familiarizing wtih search.


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Picture 1-18Topix expands its News Search —providing access to article archives long past their expiration in Google or Yahoo news services. From a year of results, you can browse through a graphic timeline of stories relating to you search. Caps sensitive searches are also now a go, “for the true search geek” (very useful).


NYT Finds An AOL Searcher

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Woman Times

A very important piece of reporting, and a powerful reminder of the data corporations and the Govt. have access to.

NYT: A Face Is Exposed For AOL Searcher No. 4417749.

From it:

And search by search, click by click, the identity of AOL user No. 4417749 became easier to discern. There are queries for “landscapers in Lilburn, Ga,” several people with the last name Arnold and “homes sold in shadow lake subdivision gwinnett county georgia.”

It did not take much investigating to follow that data trail to Thelma Arnold, a 62-year-old widow who lives in Lilburn, Ga., frequently researches her friends’ medical ailments and loves her three dogs. “Those are my searches,” she said, after a reporter read part of the list to her.

I spoke with one of the authors, Tom Zeller, late yesterday, and when he told me they’d easily found this woman, I was, in an odd sense, thrilled. In a way, this advances one of my goals – the silver lining of a data leak like this is that it allows the culture to have a conversation about what we’re getting into here by tracking all this data (the Times quotes me saying as much.) Kudos to the Times.

Denise Caruso Blogs

By - August 08, 2006

Denise Caruso, a longtime friend and keen observer of the digital world, has emerged in the blog world with a post reminding us all that net neutrality is a movie we’ve all seen before…15 years ago. Good to see Denise at it again!