free html hit counter October 2006 - Page 4 of 10 - John Battelle's Search Blog

IBM Sues Amazon for Infringement

By - October 24, 2006

IBM filed two infringement lawsuits for five patent violations against Amazon. The patents in question include online product recommendation schemes and other features Amazon uses at the foundation of its business, some of which IBM says it developed as early as the 1980s. IBM has approached Amazon since 2002 to reconcile the alleged infringement through licensing–which several other companies do.

From the WSJ:

The patents at the center of the dispute are broad, and IBM alleges they cover parts of Amazon’s elaborate product-recommendation system. That system shows customers products related to the one they’re looking at, and also shows them other products purchased by like-minded customers. The patents also cover the way Amazon displays advertising on its site to match customer preferences, and how the retailer stores shopping data to build customer profiles.

“Given that time frame, these are very fundamental inventions for e-commerce and how to do it on the network,” said John E. Kelly, IBM’s senior vice president for intellectual property. “Much, if not all, of Amazon’s business is built on top of this property.”

…IBM received 2,941 U.S. patents in 2005, for the 13th year more than any other company.

Amazon’s relationship with patents has been more heavily contested; the company’s patent of the “one-click” checkout method in 1999 was famously derided as overly broad and obvious. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is re-examining that patent.

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I Gets On Them Internets, then I Use The Google

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George W Bush 150E

From Krane’s blog:

Maria uncovers this gem in a recent conversation with Dubya. Seriously.

BARTIROMO: I’m curious, have you ever googled anybody? Do you use Google?

BUSH: Occasionally. One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps. It’s very interesting to see — I’ve forgot the name of the program — but you get the satellite, and you can — like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It remind me of where I wanna be sometimes.

Whoa. 3000 Posts.

By - October 23, 2006


Milestones often pass unnoticed. I missed Searchblog’s 3000th post just yesterday. Fittingly, it was about geeking out on search. That means I’ve averaged 1000 posts a year, or nearly 3 a day for three years. Wow.

YouTube: Not A Good Start, BB Reports

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From BB today:

YouTube gave user data to Paramount lawyers

The video-sharing site recently purchased by Google for $1.65B in stock has been keeping tabs on users’ personal data, and sharing some of that identifying info without users’ awareness. Responding to a subpoena served in May by Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures, YouTube handed over data on at least one user to the movie studio’s lawyers.

Google Copies RollyO, Amazon

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Roll your own search engine, folks, using Google (Cnet coverage). Dave Pell, I feel your pain….the (partial) release:

The Power of Google Search is Now Customizable

Today, Google is launching the Google Custom Search Engine, a new way to bring tailored search to websites and blogs.

Our clever engineers have found a way to open up the Google search platform to let anyone build their own search engine, without needing a Ph.D. in computer science. In just minutes, individuals, organizations and businesses can use the Google search platform to create their own search engines targeted toward their audience and focused on any content they like, from academic pursuits, to charitable causes, to Hollywood heartthrobs, and more.

When we say we’re letting people build a custom search engine, we mean the whole thing: choosing which pages they want to include in their index, how the content should be prioritized, whether others can contribute to the index, and what the search results page will look like. Custom Search Engines are monetized through the Google AdSense program so they can even generate revenue with it. Universities, non-profits and government organizations can choose not to run ads on their search results if they’d rather not.

You can already see a few Custom Search Engines in action. Intuit’s site, which provides information and resources to small businesses, is combining a Custom Search Engine with its years of experience in small business to provide the most useful resources on the Web to its users. Or take, a site that offers expert opinion on the science of climate change. They have created a searchable subset of the Web to provide reliable scientific information to its visitors.

Here’s how a Custom Search Engine works: organizations or individuals simply go to and select the websites or pages they’d like to include in their search index. Users can choose to restrict their search results to include only those pages and sites, or they can give those pages and sites higher priority and ranking within the larger Google index when people search their site. Users can then customize the look, feel and functionality of their search engine.

“Search and advertising is at the heart of all we do at Google, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make both even more relevant for our users,” said Shashi Seth, group product manager, Google Custom Search Engine. “Now, people can get the power of Google search, even when they’re not on”

Google Custom Search Engine is available at . We plan to expand the offering internationally in the coming weeks.

Recall also that Amazon had a version of this with A9.

UPDATE: More from the call today with Marissa Mayer and the product managers. The Custom Search is designed to extend the limited audience of Google Co-op, which they found stagnated as an early-adopter tool. It has improved ease of use, as showcased by the search engine on Justin Timberlake that a Product Manager’s teenage daughter “rolled” in about 10 minutes. While similar to Rollyo’s innovative custom roll, the Google CSE adds the benefit of allowing users to roll an unlimited number of sites together and display the results on their own site, with personalized presentation. Someone on the call described this as the fragmentation of search. The ability to build verticals will allow experts to build specialized engines. But while the engines will be individual, the collaborative element of tagging the domains encourages communities of knowledge to create together. So while each will stand apart from the amazing all-in-one answer box, the Custom Search will also allow a thickening or deepening of intelligent tags in Co-op, which feeds the one box that unites them all.

What The F*ck Is With the Spam Lately

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I was so happy with Akismet, WordPress’ spam fighting plugin, but lately, I have been deleting more than 50 spams a day. It’s driving me out of my mind. I leave the blog for a few hours – like today, where I went down to spend the afternoon with Yahoo – and damned if there aren’t the spam bots waiting to strike. Message to spammers: F*CK YOU.

WaPo Does the Click Fraud Piece, I Scratch My Head…

By - October 22, 2006

Another major media story on click fraud this weekend, from the Washington Post. Nothing new that I can see, to be honest.

But I am left still scratching my head on this whole topic. There is no doubt that some folks take advantage of syndicated ad networks like Adsense and Overture to engage in fraudulent activities. But I spent a day down at Google recently, and among the meetings I had was a briefing with the folks responsible for leading Google’s click fraud detection. I found them earnest, believable, and utterly frustrated with many players in the SEO/SEM industry.

Why? Recall the kerfluffle over click fraud at SES this past August – when Google issued a report essentially debunking approaches taken by most click fraud detection firms – the very firms whose data underpins a lot of the media coverage of clickfraud? The major point of the report was, in short, that the very methods used to count click fraud were technically inaccurate.

Well, that report did cause some headlines, but since then, apparently, the firms have not been very forthcoming to Google about whether or not they are fixing their approaches, or even if they accept Google’s claims in the first place.

I was planning to get smarter on this before posting, but it seems the Post story has pushed the issue once again to the fore. My meeting was an initial overview, and I need to drill down and grok what I heard. More to come as I get it…

What TechDirt Said

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I won’t bother linking to the original Cnet opinion piece eviscerated so well by TechDirt here. The topic is whether pointing to and summarizing content openly posted on the web is illegal and “immoral”. It ain’t.

Google Copies SpaceShipOne

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Mike has discovered that Google has acquired a copy of SpaceShipOne, the plane which won the X Prize, and is installing it on their new campus. Odd. Is this just window dressing?