free html hit counter September 2006 - Page 3 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Relevancy Vs. Targeting

By - September 25, 2006

An interesting rumination from Joe, who first wrote this on his blog

We all know that targeting is important, but the core of what Google provides is relevancy–namely, relevancy of search results and relevancy of advertisements.

There are infinite reasons why Google has been successful, but the most basic is that it has always focused first on relevancy.

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Google: What Are The Interesting Questions These Days?

By - September 24, 2006

Fortune 20061002

Google’s on the cover of Fortune again, this time with the come on that the company is in chaos! No, wait, maybe that’s a good thing…yeah, in fact, it is a good thing! Fortune turns it into a cover package on “managing chaos” that might well have been a Business 2.0 cover….three years ago. Funny that B2 has as it’s cover “The New Disruptors” (just got it in the mail, not online yet)- Google, apparently, is the old disruptor, as Fortune represents the status quo, and B2 the upstarts.

I dunno, but after reading the piece, which was reported as well as is possible given the access given, I felt like I had read the same story I’ve been reading about Google for the past three years – the piece turns on the interesting question of “Do They Have a Plan?” and then fails to answer it definitively (Marissa says Google has a plan, but the evidence ain’t overwhelming). I’m starting to think that maybe we are all asking the wrong question. I’ve been asking that one for some time now, and now I’m thinking there are more interesting ones out there. (There are good tidbits in the piece, for more see Read/Write Web’s write up…)

With that in mind, Eric Schmidt has agreed to be the first keynote interview at this year’s Web 2 conference. I’ll be interviewing him, and I’d love all of your input on what you think I should ask him. What are the interesting questions to ask Google these days?

Weekend SearchMob

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Top stories:

Nokia Adds Microsoft Live Search

Search Engine Bias and the Demise of Search Engine Utopianism

BusinessWeek Cover Story and Investigation on Click Fraud

Over 30 Domain Names Transferred to Google Inc.

FORBES: 400 Richest American$ , Their Details

New AOL Search Beta Test Available

Save the Forbes story (what is it with lists of rich guys?), I’ve been really pleased with the quality of the stories sumitted to SearchMob. What I wish I had was more voting from readers – in general, the voting has been pretty anemic – 4-6 votes for top stories, usually. I’m not looking for Digg numbers (1000 diggs is not unusual), but my logs tell me there are thousands of readers each day at Searchblog. So…is SearchMob working, or not?


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FprintClickstreams – the essential building blocks of the Database of Intentions – may have characteristics unique to each person – a “Clickprint”, as this report from Wharton calls it. From Gary’s post excerpting the paper:

“We address the question of whether humans have unique signatures – or clickprints – when they browse the Web. The importance of being able to answer this can be significant given applications to electronic commerce in general and in particular online fraud detection, a major problem in electronic commerce costing the economy billions of dollars annually. In this paper we present a data mining approach to answer this ‘unique clickprint determination problem.”

The paper is reviewed in Wharton’s online publication. What I find rather irritating in the coverage (I have not read the paper yet) is there is precious little discussion of privacy issues, and none of government abuse. It strikes me that at the end of the day, these are the two most important issues facing the deployment of such a technology. Who knew your keyboard and mouse, in essence, are transferring your fingerprints across the web?

Sterling Riff In New Scientist

By - September 23, 2006

Bruce Sterling, a prolific sci-fi author who I’ve had the honor to know since the birth of Wired, has a great riff on being a teenager in a rather dim future in the current print edition of New Scientist. It’s online, but only for a while, as the magazine seems hell bent on a subscription model. (Memo to New Scientist: Join the Point to Economy). From it:

It’s not that we can’t do it: it’s that all our social relations have been reified with a clunky intensity. They’re digitized! And the networking hardware and software that pervasively surround us are built and owned by evil, old, rich corporate people! Social-networking systems aren’t teenagers! These machines are METHODICALLY KILLING OUR SOULS! If you don’t count wall-graffiti (good old spray paint), we have no means to spontaneously express ourselves. We can’t “find ourselves” – the market’s already found us and filled us with map pins.

At our local mall, events-management sub-engines emit floods of locative data. So if Debbie and me sneak in there, looking for some private place to get horizontal, all the vidcams swivel our way. Then a rent-a-cop shows up. What next?

(thanks, BIll)

Looking for Short Videos

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A new feature at the Web 2 conference this year will be “Shorts” – I’ll be showing off videos that are emblematic of where our culture’s video grammar seems to be headed. I’ve been writing about the idea of video as cultural grammar off and on here, and I think this year will mark an axis of sorts – the year video was reborn as a native web medium.

To that end we’ve issued a call for submissions. From the submissions page:

Have you seen a video clip or short film that you think is Web 2.0 worthy? We’re looking for fun and telling viral videos (less than 3 minutes in length) to feature at the conference in November. Submit your nominations below. Submitters of the chosen shorts will be thanked from stage.

If you’ve seen something great, I’d be indebted if you could point it out to me. Thanks!

NYT Integrates Content

By - September 21, 2006

Picture 3-10A portion of inline links will now serve’s reference content. With a single Alt-key selection, Answers will allow online NYT readers to stay on page while accessing a pop-up of contextual material on key terms, selected by NYT editors. Answers will also now feed a reference search box on the NYT homepage. The goal of the integration is to help online Times readers “understand current events in historical perspective.”

TiVo's captivated research audience

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TiVo launches a new research service, called the IRI TiVo Consumer Insights Suite(TM), to help marketers enter the mind of the ad-free viewing audience. TiVo boxes will become a passive data sponge for user viewing habits–opt-in Nelson Ratings-style–offering advertisers unprecedented insight into this group of serious TV viewers who are also at once an uncaptive audience. In particular, TiVo is marketing the research pool to-be to advertisers as a “link [between] consumer DVR viewing patterns [and] purchase decisions.”

The goal? “making it possible for brand purchase results to be traced and compared to the actual viewership of commercials.” But how many homes with a digital video recorder will willingly enable auto-monitoring equipment to feed information directly back to the advertisers who they’ve bought the TiVo precisely in order to escape?