free html hit counter August 2006 - Page 5 of 7 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Video distribution, MTV deal

By - August 08, 2006

As previously reported, Google announced a new program allowing users to distribute ad-sponsored video streaming on websites and blogs. Google kicks-off its trial later this month in a partnership with MTV. I spoke with David Eun, VP of Google Content Partnerships, to get more detail.

Google plans to use the trial period as experimental research to determine the final layout of ad types and the pricing systems. For the trial, MTV will sell and serve its own ads. The ads will be video spliced into the content, for the trial and forward.

Google has not yet revealed other partnership negotiations in the wing, but an established deal with Viacom’s MTV begs speculation about future deals on Viacom’s full array of content subsidiaries. The biggest challenge Eun foresees is ramping up business development to the expectations of their partners.

Google says publishers, advertisers and content owners are relying more on Google as a network supporting media distribution–first for hosting, then serving, and now monetizing.

With a stress on scale, Eun said that the technology and publisher network already exists in the AdSense network.

“We already have thousands of advertisers and content owners in our network. And now we can work together to make more money for everyone involved,” he todl me. Eun muses that this “will hopefully turn into a virtuous circle.”

Eun did not detail if ads would continue to be sold algorithmically, or directly by Google’s ad sales team.

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round up

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Spotting the right image

xcavator identifies photos with similar combinations of color swatches–by color characteristics and placements chosen by the user. At the moment, this unique image search trolls Flickr for its demo.

Brokering a digital Alexandria

The University of California Library system is considering a partnership with Google to scan and make searchable “34 million volumes from 100 libraries on 10 campuses” (link). If the UC decision overcomes contentious debate about scanning copyright protected materials, the UC will join six other libraries sharing with Google. via

Stop Badware

Google now serves a warning before directing a user to a site reported to the ‘Neighborhood Watch’ campaign committed to fighting malware., led by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Oxford Internet Institute, will also begin providing site-specific reports on badware cautioned pages.

Checking it out

Google Checkout does not factor into AdWords quality score algorithm. This is among other details from Alan Rimm-Kaufman’s interview with Benjamin Ling, Product Lead for Google Checkout.

Rollyo updates

Rollyo blog search now tracks news and trusted blogs, along with relevant web result updates. Rollyo’s founder David Pell says, “This is really a game changer for me as a user. Now I can read what Searchblog says about topic A and quickly see what is being said about the same topic across the blogs and news sites I (or you) know and trust.” Rollyo other improvements include a browser bookmarklet and users can now acquire any searchroll in the system by editing it.

International internet laws

The Senate has ratified an international treaty on cybercrime. Along with 40 other countries, the U.S. will now cooperate internationally to fight internet crimes committed via the internet—including those only in violation of foreign laws. EFF, link

No more bread-crumb trails

Finally, you can save locations on Google Maps. link

The bloke at the center of SES

A USA Today piece on Danny Sullivan orchestrating the SES conference from “the remote little village of Chitterne, about four hours southwest of London.”

Where in wiki

Futef adds relevance search to wikipedia’s many pages. While keyword search on wikipedia will return a list of its closest-matched topics, this Futeff serves a ranked list of relevant pages.

Google Looks to Avoid Becoming a Xerox of Kleenex

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Like the folks in the click fraud de-fictionalizing department, Google’s trademark lawyers are only doing their job. But as with so many things when your dorm-room inspired company gets huge, the Doing Of A Job runs entirely counter to the philosophical foundations of the company samesaid trademark lawyers are apparently doing their job to protect.

Allow me to explain (I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, sorry). If you are the holder of a valuable trademark (say, one of the most valuable brands in the world, for example), it’s really, really bad for that same mark to be used casually to indicate an entire process, a process which, in fact, is generic and need not necessarily be tied to your brand or product. It’s the same problem Xerox has with copying, or Kleenex with facial tissue. In short, Google might lose its trademark due to – overwhelming association with the problem its brand solves.

Now, no one at Google had a problem with Google entering the lexicon a few years ago. In fact, it was celebrated inside the ‘plex, as I recall.

But trademark law says you have to show an effort to protect your mark, or you can lose it. Hence, Google now finds itself sending silly letters to newspapers who use the Google brand as a verb. Next up, I’m sure, are half hearted ads in the Columbia Journalism Review.

I can’t imagine these letters are sent with any expectation of changing anything. But it’s fun to see them in any case.

(Non-Ficticious) News: Google Publishes Paper On Click Fraud

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Here’s the situation: on the one hand you have your customers, insisting that there is a problem and that you do something about it. On the other hand, you have your engineers, insisting there is not a problem. Further complicating the issue is that your customers, unsatisfied with your insistence that their concerns are, in fact, not a concern, have gone and hired third party firms who then validate their concerns (and turn click fraud detection into yet another industry – see the ads on here). Then, of course, the press whips those concerns into a major frenzy, threatening your $100+billion market cap.

And all of this is due to one thing: you aren’t willing to show your cards as to why you believe your customers concerns are invalid in the first place. Doing so would dull the edge of competitive differentiation that made your product what it is in the first place.

This is the situation in which Google finds itself right now with its AdSense advertisers. It’s not a pretty place to be. So to dampen the criticism, Google has responded with a 17 page white paper attacking the methodology third party click fraud reporting firms use. They’ll have to walk a fine line here.

Titled “How Fictitious Clicks Occur in Third-Party Click Fraud Audit Reports,” the paper sets out to set the record straight.

“We have seen numerous reports of click fraud estimates which we believe significantly overestimate the impact on advertisers,” the report states in its background section. “The most fundamental flaw that we have seen in these reports is the existence of fictitious clicks: events which are reported as fraudulent but do not appear within Google’s logs as AdWords clicks. This report identifies the root causes behind these fictitious clicks and illustrates the extent to which this flaw impacts click fraud estimates from these firms.”

I am still reading this report, and was given a 9 am publishing embargo, so I’m going to go ahead and upload the document here, and let you all read it with me. I’ll be back with more thoughts as they occur to me, or please, add yours to this thread.

Update: Wow, the document reads far more combative than I thought it would. It’s more of an indictment of the nascent click fraud detection industry, and three firms in particular are called out. To wit:

We have been aware of the presence of fictitious clicks in third-party reports for some time. We have given feedback to advertisers (and indirectly, to some of these third-party auditing firms) and pointed out the various flaws weíve observed in their reports, but have met with little in the way of a positive response or interest in correcting their methodologies. They maintained that their click fraud detection methodologies differed from ours, and that fact alone accounted for any differences. ….

We discovered some basic engineering and accounting issues across the industry – problems which were in fact completely separate from the issue of accurate click fraud detection – which have in each case led to dramatic overestimation of click fraud rates by these firms. As an example, a single AdWords click may appear as five events in some reports, leading to (a) the identification of these events as “click fraud”, and (b) the reporting of five fraudulent clicks. …

Appendix B presents detailed case studies for three firms:

ClickFacts, Click Forensics, and AdWatcher. Click fraud estimates from ClickFacts and Click Forensics have

received widespread media coverage. And among third-party auditing reports submitted to us by advertisers, reports from AdWatcher are the most common.

All three cases studies exhibit the problem of severe click inflation in their reports primarily due to the presence of fictitious clicks, which generally render their published estimates on click fraud invalid.

I am still grokking this, I’m not a fraud detection expert. Watch SEW for more, I’d wager. Also, here is Google’s post on the report.

And lastly, coverage from SEW from Publishing 2.0. Sounds like there were fireworks on stage, so sorry to be missing the conference…

News: Google To Pay $900 Million to Float Fox Interactive (MySpace et al) Search

By - August 07, 2006


Yow. From the Journal, more as I get it.

Google will pay News Corp. at least $900 million to be the search provider on MySpace and other sites. The move — a blow to rival Yahoo — gives Google exclusive access to one of the most popular sites on the Internet, and follows Google’s $1 billion deal to provide searches on AOL.

No story I can find is up yet. I have pinged folks I know on all sides of this deal. Here’s the release.

Udpate: A Google conference call is in progress here.

Eric Schmidt and Ross Levinsohn are on it, am listening now. In short, Google has guaranteed minimum payments based on expected revenues from search placements on MySpace.

The deal is all cash, there are traffic assumptions that they feel “comfortable” with, the deal feathers back if traffic goals are not met. “Our history is that we agree to these structures, and then we do better because of our synergies,” says Schmidt.

AOL: Dooooooh!

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Aol ResearchAOL has officially responded to the recent ruckus over data released by folks in its research group. The summary: Man, did we screw up.

I emailed my contacts there and got an early draft of the release:

“This was a screw up, and we’re angry and upset about it. It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant.

Although there was no personally-identifiable data linked to these accounts, we’re absolutely not defending this. It was a mistake, and we apologize. We’ve launched an internal investigation into what happened, and we are taking steps to ensure that this type of thing never happens again.

Here was what was mistakenly released:

* Search data for roughly 658,000 anonymized users over a three month period from March to May.

* There was no personally identifiable data provided by AOL with those records, but search queries themselves can sometimes include such information.

* According to comScore Media Metrix, the AOL search network had 42.7 million unique visitors in May, so the total data set covered roughly 1.4% of May search users.

* Roughly 20 million search records over that period, so the data included roughly 1/3 of one percent of the total searches conducted through the AOL network over that period.

* The searches included as part of this data only included U.S. searches conducted within the AOL client software.”

SES Starts Today

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The ever-growing Search Engine Strategies conference starts today, the overview is here. I’d love to meet up with folks at the event, but alas, I am going to be having shoulder surgery this week, and that means I must miss it. I’ll be reading all the coverage in the b’sphere, however….

My my, How Time Flies: The Seach Now In Paperback (With New Chapter!)

By - August 06, 2006

An observant reader told me yesterday that The Search is now available for pre-order on Amazon – in paperback. Has it really been a whole year?! And four months since I wrote the new chapter updating the book!? Lordy. Well, I hope you’ll all see it as that perfect Fall read… order, if you’re so inclined, click on the image at left….


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That’s Google’s US search share, Hitwise says.

Search Engine Share 72906.Png

MTV, Google Focus on Leader YouTube

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GoogvideoAP just posted this story:

In a further reach for online video, Google Inc. will begin distributing clips from MTV Networks’ shows to other Web sites through its budding video service in a model that offers content creators a new source of distribution and revenue.

The deal announced Sunday will begin as a test later this month, offering 100 hours of programming from clips of “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and MTV’s Video Music Awards. The partnership will expand video through Google’s advertising network to a variety of sites and is likely to spawn further such deals, making video a far more integral element of online advertising.

Combined with the AP news, it’s clear that Google is starting to show it’s hand with regard the media industry, and that hand says this: Work with us, and we’ll get you paid.

Clearly Google and MTV lag market leader YouTube, and this alliance is probably just the start…