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And It's Done – Google YouTube

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Gootube-1The Journal reports:

Google Inc. agreed to buy closely-held YouTube Inc. in an all-stock deal worth about $1.65 billion, a transaction that will unite the popular video-sharing site with Google’s online advertising system.

Under the terms of the deal, which was expected, YouTube will at least initially retain a significant measure of independence, keeping its brand and offices. YouTube will continue to be based in San Bruno, Calif., and all YouTube employees will remain with the company. The companies said they expect to close the transaction in the fourth quarter.

More when….etc.

Google Continues Distribution Play: Music Videos

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From Reuters:

Internet search leader Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday said it signed distribution deals with Sony BMG and Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to offer music videos.

Deals with two of the top global music labels follow on the heels of similar deals Universal Music Group signed with top online video service YouTube on Monday.

Meanwhile, we all await the landing, or fizzzling, of hurricane GooTube.

Another Reason YouTube Is Like Google….

By - October 08, 2006

It has to deal with making judgements about what is right and wrong. See this piece from the Times:

YouTube users can flag any video as containing pornography, mature content or graphic violence, depicting illegal acts or being racially or ethnically offensive. A video is removed — as Ms. Malkin’s was on Sept. 28 — only if a review by the company’s customer support department agrees that it is inappropriate, or that the video is on its face in violation of the site’s terms of use.

But the incident raised some questions about the fine line YouTube’s administrators walk when they decide to respond to users’ complaints about contributions to the site — a mechanism that is fraught with the potential for vindictive shenanigans.

Too Much Money, Not Enough (Good) Companies

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Sevin RosenSo says Sevin Rosen, which VentureBeat discovers will return the money it raised to investors. Is this a sign? From the story:

…in a letter sent to its investors Friday, a copy of which was obtained by VentureBeat, the firm made a surprising about-face. It told the investors it had decided there is “too much money,” “too many deals funded in almost every conceivable space,” and a “terribly weak exit environment.” Moreover, it sees no changes in the foreseeable future.

The story was broken by the Times (covered here by Stowe) and used as a peg to wonder aloud: is VC model working anymore?

The GooTube Rumours Get Another Round

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This Google YouTube story is a true marvel of unsubstantiation. While the Journal said last week it had one (off the record) source, and TechCrunch gave it about a 40% chance based on its own anonymous sourcing, the UK papers, apparently trying to get ahead of a possible announcement Monday, are truly outdoing themselves.

The Times UK sources it thusly: “Google is expected early this week to announce a $1.6 billion (£850m) deal to acquire YouTube.” In other words, there is no source.

Sky News posts it this way: “Online search engine giant Google is expected to agree a £850m deal to buy video sharing website YouTube.” Yup, no source either. Oh wait, save for this gem: “The Sunday Times has suggested the site’s owners would welcome financial help to support the cost of hosting the ever-growing number of clips – reported to be £800,000 each month.”

While this may well happen, I have to ask, since when have stories with passive sourcing – ie, “is expected to” – passed for journalism?

Reader Greg Says…

By - October 06, 2006

< ![CDATA[Reader Greg says: I don’t know, John. Google may have a hell of a legal team, but do they really want to spend all their time and treasure fighting YouTube’s legal battles instead of developing new technology?]]> Read More Read More

What If The Government Regulated Data Collection Practices?

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TechDirt points to a piece at The Technology Liberation Front about legislation considered in my home state of California:

…the California Initiative For Internet Privacy (CIFIP) is turning up the heat on Google and other search engine provides with threats of legislative campaigns or a push for a ballot initiative regulating data collection.

When it comes to the contentious issue of data retention, search companies are basically damned if they do and damned if they don’t. That is, if they DO collect / retain search terms and records, the privacy zealots go crazy and run to Rep. Ed Markey (or, in this case, California legislators) and ask for new laws strictly limiting what can be collected / retained.

On the other hand, if they DO NOT collect / retain any of this info, then the “law and order” / “we must protect the children” crowd in Congress and state AG offices start breathing fire down their necks and demand *mandatory* data preservation / retention, potentially for lengthy periods of time (and for quite a bit of information).

Forbes Rounds Up Zeitgeist, YouTube Implications

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Google holds a semi annual confab for its partners called Zeitgeist. The press is not invited, but a lof of folks I know end up going. The consensus from them is that the event has turned into a pretty traditional “make your clients happy” event. In other words, Google’s acting like every other company in the world that sells advertising for a living.

Forbes rounds it up here. From it:

Schmidt said that more than 1,000 people will ultimately work on Google’s efforts in radio advertising, which will someday sell radio ads over a modified version of its current Adwords placement service. “We’re trying to get a simplified Adwords interface where the advertiser gets multiple channels,” Schmidt said. The idea: Let a marketer allocate an ad budget across multiple platforms, either in an automated manner or by targeting times and regions.

The initiative to put ads in newspapers, ongoing since January, now has almost 100 newspapers, Schmidt said. Television advertising, he added, is still a long way off, but is planned.

And note this kicker to the piece:

One area Google won’t be moving into, the three said, is actual content creation. That’s a refrain the company has to constantly repeat in the face of concern by publishers and other media types who worry about the company’s ambitions. “We see ourselves as the best way to get to content,” said Schmidt.

“…and monetize it,” Page added.

This is why I think Google and YouTube make sense: no one else can position themselves in this way to Big Media. Other Big Media companies will sue the shit out of whoever buys YouTube. But Google has one hell of a legal team, and it’s entire business is based on the DMCA safe harbor. “We’re not here to compete with you guys for content creation,” Google says, “we’re here to partner with you!”