free html hit counter September 2006 - Page 4 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Now, If We Buy You, Can We Lose the Deal with Microsoft?

By - September 20, 2006

WSJ says (reg required) Facebook and Yahoo are close to a deal. OF course, Microsoft won’t like that much….

People familiar with the matter say the company has held separate acquisition talks with Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Viacom Inc. over the past year. Now, say some of these people, the start-up is in serious discussions — again — to sell itself to Yahoo for an amount that could approach $1 billion.

Update: Free WSJ link.

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Mostly Offline for Next Few Days

By - September 19, 2006

I’m taking a whirlwind trip to Norway over the next few days, and will be mostly offline. Melanie will be posting, lightly, but forgive my absence for a bit…

JG Writes…

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< ![CDATA[Reader JG writes: Junk pages and splogs are one thing (see this Motley Fool article), but even worse is the whole issue of journalistic or other text that is written so as not to offend Adsense, and thus not lose advertising dollars (see here for example).

As the entire economic model of the web increasingly comes to rely on this sort of contextual advertising, I think there is an honest concern over what effect this is having on journalism.]]> Read More Read More

Meanwhile, Over at Yahoo…

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Yhoo9.19.06Not good news, a warning on ads, and a serious drop in the stock to boot. From the Journal email alert (on the public home page):

Yahoo shares plunged more than 10% after Chief Executive Terry Semel warned that online advertising growth appears to be slowing in some categories. Mr. Semel, speaking at an analysts’ conference, said the company has seen growth weaken in ads from automotive and financial services companies, and said it’s too early to tell if the slowdown will spill over into other areas.

Update: Safa at Piper says this is “a buying opportunity.” I uploaded his report here.

Calla Lilies Choking a Silt-shallowed Lake

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Fortune 20060918

I used to love reading Fortune magazine, back when I was a magazine guy trying (and failing) to build a business magazine empire. But while I still get the paper edition on my doorstep every two weeks, I’ve found the thing increasingly irritating. Why? Today, for no particular reason, it struck me. The content is gone, or more specifically, it’s buried under a blizzard of ads, and most irritatingly, “advertising features.” If this is the future of magazines, the future is bleak. From my experience in the business, these “features” are never welcomed by editors, they are pushed by sales people who are worried about making quota. Furthermore, the net per page on them is well below what traditional ads yield – like calla lilies choking a silt-shallowed lake, they are a sign of a permanent change in the landscape.

Of the 256 pages in last week’s Fortune (including the cover, but not including the ad-driven mini insert “bonus section”, which I didn’t bother to count (or read)), 108 or so were “normal ads” – full, half, or spread ads. But another 47 or so were advertorials – editorial material I really could care less about, written not by influential editors, but by marketing departments. If you add the two together – 108 plus 47 – you get 155. That leaves 101 pages for actual editorial. In other words, Fortune’s ad/edit ratio is 155/100, or roughly 40% edit to 60% ads. Of course, the magazine doesn’t look that crowded with ads, because a third of them are masquerading as editorial.

This stuff is nearly 50 pages – half again the amount as the real editorial. For every two pages of edit, I’m getting a page of marketing edit. Who reads this stuff? Why do people pay to run it? I looked back at a few recent issues of Fortune, and the same is true – it’s crammed with bad editorial.

Could you imagine if every third post in a blog was written not by the blog’s author, but by a marketing department?

Given this, it’s not a surprise to read David Carr’s recent piece in the Times and IHT about Time Inc. reeling. I love magazines, and all they stand for, but the economic model of print is getting tougher and tougher to justify.

Google Search Share: Back Up

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Earlier market reports from Comscore, which are watched by Wall St., showed a decline in share for Google, which some analysts said is the reason shares fell in late summer. A new report from Comscore shows growth again, and Google’s stock seems to rise right alongside it (it’s down this morning, but up over past five days). From a report emailed to me (I’ve uploaded it here) by Robert Peck at Bear Stearns:

Following the loss of domestic market share in July 06 from June 06, Google has regained (and surpassed) the lost share in August 06, according to the data released by comScore. We note that this followed a similar pattern in the corresponding months of 2005 where Google lost share in July 05 but regained share in August 05. We view this as a mild positive for Google given the negative reaction in the stock following the news of the lost share for July 06. In addition, this brings to light our thinking that investors should not place too much emphasis on month-to-month fluctuations in market share for the online search cos.