free html hit counter November 2006 - Page 4 of 9 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Er…Not to Split Hairs But…

By - November 19, 2006

Youtube-2From the AP:

Google Inc. has set aside more than $200 million in its just-completed takeover of YouTube Inc. to cover possible losses on the deal, creating a financial cushion that might protect the Internet search leader it it’s hit with legal bills for the frequent copyright violations on YouTube’s video-sharing site.

Without elaborating in a late Monday statement, Google said it is withholding 12.5 percent of the stock owed to YouTube for one year ‘to secure certain indemnification obligations.’


I asked about the YouTube acquisition and whether a portion of the $1.65 billion sum was reserved to pay settlements with various media companies, as Mark Cuban asserted on his site. Eric flatly denied it.

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Yahoo To Announce Deal with Newspapers Monday

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Yahoo-1The Times has the story, PaidContent had the curtain raiser

From the NYT:

A consortium of seven newspaper chains representing 176 daily papers across the country is announcing a broad partnership with Yahoo to share content, advertising and technology, another sign that the wary newspaper business is increasingly willing to shake hands with the technology companies they once saw as a threat.

In the first phase of the deal, the newspaper companies will begin posting their employment classified ads on Yahoo’s classified jobs site, HotJobs, and start using HotJobs technology to run their own online career ads.

But the long-term goal of the alliance with Yahoo, according to one senior executive at a participating newspaper company, is to be able to have the content of these newspapers tagged and optimized for searching and indexing by Yahoo.


By - November 18, 2006

YahooBrad Garlinghouse

For the past few quarters, many of us have sensed something of a malaise brewing inside Yahoo. (My first question to David Filo at Web 2, for example, was centered on Yahoo’s sliding image as an innovator, and how it’s languished compared to Google in terms of search and monetization). Now Paul Kedrosky has posted an internal memo (and WSJ does too) that puts that malaise into words. Written by SVP Brad Garlinghouse, it’s a pretty thrilling manifesto – the kind of internal document that gains power when it becomes public.

Now the question is, what will Semel do with it? The public airing of such a damming memo certainly demands some kind of response. Wow.

…all is not well. Last Thursday’s NY Times article was a blessing in the disguise of a painful public flogging. While it lacked accurate details, its conclusions rang true, and thus was a much needed wake up call. But also a call to action. A clear statement with which I, and far too many Yahoo’s, agreed. And thankfully a reminder. A reminder that the measure of any person is not in how many times he or she falls down – but rather the spirit and resolve used to get back up. The same is now true of our Company.

It’s time for us to get back up.

I believe we must embrace our problems and challenges and that we must take decisive action. We have the opportunity – in fact the invitation – to send a strong, clear and powerful message to our shareholders and Wall Street, to our advertisers and our partners, to our employees (both current and future), and to our users. They are all begging for a signal that we recognize and understand our problems, and that we are charting a course for fundamental change, Our current course and speed simply will not get us there. Short-term band-aids will not get us there.

Specific points Brad makes:

We lack clarity of ownership and accountability. The most painful manifestation of this is the massive redundancy that exists throughout the organization.

We lack decisiveness. Combine a lack of focus with unclear ownership, and the result is that decisions are either not made or are made when it is already too late.

We have lost our passion to win. Far too many employees are “phoning” it in, lacking the passion and commitment to be a part of the solution. We sit idly by while — at all levels — employees are enabled to “hang around”. Where is the accountability?

Garlinghouse goes on to make specific recommendations about how the company should be organized (way flatter), staffed (cut 15-20%) and run (kill redundant businesses, etc.).

I can only imagine the fire drill going on at Yahoo right now over this. But my two cents is this: Accept this criticism as heartfelt, and assuming the leak was not malicious, don’t go on a witch hunt. Don’t circle the wagons, and – this would be risky but right – if you truly believe that Garlinghouse has valid points, take the memo to heart and address the points it raises.

No one wants to see what happened to DEC, Xerox, IBM, or Microsoft happen to Yahoo. Maybe this is the wake up call it needed? (Of course, having the leak on the weekend before Thanksgiving does minimize the impact…)

Update: From the Journal: Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig has asked Mr. Garlinghouse to head a group of Yahoo staff looking into the issues in the memo over two months, say people familiar with the matter.

Good God, Must It To Come To This? It Must.

By - November 17, 2006

Goat Rodeo

(pic) I knew this was coming, but Lord, it sucks. Now our industry is making money, and hitting the big times, it’s going to be all about lawyers and posturing, right? From the Journal (not public link, check here):

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest recorded-music company, sued News Corp.’s MySpace for copyright infringement, alleging that the social-networking giant traffics in “user-stolen” content, including music, videos and other material.

At issue is the widespread presence of copyrighted music and video content on MySpace. In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for California’s Central District, Vivendi SA’s Universal dismisses the frequently-used label “user-generated content” — alleging that much of the material on MySpace is stolen from copyright holders.

I guess Ross got out of there right before managing this monster turns into one big poo-flinging goat rodeo. Also, filing on a Friday afternoon, right before Thanksgiving…nice…

…and MyBlogLog (NOT)

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MybloglogYahoo also picked up blog stats and blog social network MyBlogLog today. Let’s hope they scale it and make it freely available….congrats to the folks behind it, many of them are pals.

Update: A Yahoo PR rep says this is not true.

Yahoo Buys Bix

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Bix Angel

Yahoo keeps up the pace of buying young Web 2 companies with its acquisition of Bix, which is run by a pal, Mike Spieser. Mike will take charge of community media at Yahoo (including photos and 360). Bix is a sort of “America’s Got Talent” writ across the web. You don’t think this stuff plays? Poke around a bit. It’s amazing how badly America wants to be Discovered. It’s quite something. It might not play in the Valley, but there’s a reason Idol and its kin do so well.

The Consolidation Continues

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Ross Levinsohn

Many others have noted this already, so I’ll just toss in my red cent – with Ross Levinsohn leaving Fox Interactive (as with Miller, he’s credited with success), and being replaced by a “seasoned television executive,” just as Miller was, it’s clear major media companies are in the mood to consolidate and leverage the investments they’ve made in online, now that they are certain the properties can make money. While one can quibble with MySpace’s ability to make money on traditional advertising, you can’t argue with $900 million from Google over the next few years. And AOL’s advertising business has been growing nicely in the past few quarters.

But putting traditional media execs in charge of these properties may not be the wisest move. First, it will take at least a year for them to grok what is going on and figure out the lay of the land. That’s a long time to wait, while more nimble natives like Google and Yahoo eat your lunch. And second, well, these are not folks who took risks and lived the space early, and when forced to make decisions, they might make the wrong ones. On the other hand, maybe this is a sign our industry is maturing. We’ll know in a year or so.

I am sure there is far more to this than meets the press, with stories on both sides. Both Miller and Levinsohn were kind enough to wait until the week *after* Web 2 to leave their posts, so I could unwittingly interview lame ducks on stage. So far, my first interview on stage – Eric Schmidt – still has his job, as do Ray Ozzie, David Filo, and Barry Diller. But watch out, guys. These things do come in threes….

Was this (Google Search Result) link useful?

By - November 16, 2006

Matt, a Searchblog reader, noticed something interesting in his Google search results today:

“I was just doing some searches on Google and noticed something I’ve never seen or heard about before. One of the links in the main search results had two feedback buttons (see screenshot).”

Picture 3-15

Matt also notes that the user satisfaction question is appearing in results both with and without AdSense.

Elsewhere, Google has said it will remove an ad for a given user if it receives sufficient negative feedback though these tests. Though it’s not clear to me how that feedback translates to AdWords scores or ad removal for other users. This seems to be an extension of that for the natural results.

MSFT Goes Wifi

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All I can say is, please, keep up the competition. I’d love a chance to select from three different Wifi carriers in every major city, each of them free/advertising based. Wifi these days sucks. I mean, ten bucks for a one time connection in the airport? And there’s never a consistent interface – I have like ten accounts on five different services, and sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. No single carrier has coverage around the country, so there’s no point in getting one service plan. I very much hope Microsoft and Google push this world toward a better place.