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The Wikipedia Search Engine

By - December 26, 2006

Not sure I have much to say about this yet. I have lobbed a mail to Jimmy Wales to see if he’d be open to talking here…

Jimmy Wales, founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is planning to build an online commercial search engine that would compete with Google and Yahoo.

The search engine, code-named Wikiasari, would combine open source technology and human intervention to deliver more relevant results than the algorithm-based systems used today, Wales said Tuesday. “Human intelligence is still the best thing we have, so let’s let humans do what they do best, and computers do what they do best.” Wikiasari combines the Hawaiian word for quick, “wiki,” with the Japanese word “asari,” which means “rummaging search.”

Apparently Jimmy is planning on taking the Nutch engine and mashing it up with conversational media approaches like Wikipedia. So far, no idea exactly how, and he mentions a two-year timeframe…Hmmm…

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Google Bigger Than Yahoo?

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I don’t trust any metrics but this one will make headlines. From the Times:

Google, the search engine company, displaced Yahoo as the world’s second-most-visited Web site in November and closed in on the leader, Microsoft, a market researcher said yesterday.

Visitors to Google’s sites rose 9.1 percent, to 475.7 million in November from a year earlier, while those to Yahoo sites rose 5.2 percent, to 475.3 million, the researcher, ComScore Networks, said. Both sites trail Microsoft, which had 501.7 million visitors, ComScore said

Govt Study Funds Click Fraud Detection

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Just in case the Googles of the world ain’t paying attention:

This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will provide a commercial solution to click fraud identification and prevention. The current existing solutions can not detect the so-called software click. This STTR project proposes a real time collaborative click fraud detection and prevention system to detect these software clicks. The approach draws on data mining techniques for fraud identification using detailed user activities. An accurate and efficient classification method based on association rule mining and data stream mining will be formulated to identify the click frauds.

The system will protect Pay-Per-Click advertisers from click fraud and improve their return on investment. The new data mining techniques discovered during the course of this research will be applied in multiple fields related to online business marketing, user analysis and other fraud identification processes.

(Thanks, Ross)

2006 Predictions: How Did I Do?

By - December 20, 2006

Time Mag You

Related:

2006 Predictions

2005 Predictions

2005 How I Did

2004 Predictions

2004 How I Did

As you all know by now, each year I prognosticate, and each year I judge how I did. This year, well, I have to say, if the only thing I got right was that Time was going to put Web 2.0 on the cover (“You” was a proxy for that, trust me), I’d be happy. But overall, I think I did OK, though I was a bit early on many things. Here’s the rundown.

1. Someone, and I do not know who, will make a big pile of Big Media video assets freely available on the web – and not via Google Video. This will be a major studio, or television company, which will realize that once you free content, content will come back to you in mashed up and remixed glory that has – holy smokes! – real business models like advertising and retail attached.

Well, not exactly, but this was certainly the year the majors started very heavy petting with letting their assets up on the web, but they most certainly did NOT let them up for remixing. Save, of course, the BBC. And, come to think of it, this is in fact a major Big Media asset. I still think this model is viable, and I still think it will happen. Stay tuned for my 2007 predictions, coming next week.

2. Google will stumble, some might say badly, but it will be significant. How? My money is on its second or third major deal – something on the order of the recent AOL deal. It may well be a loss (perceived or otherwise) in the Google Book Search case. Or it might be the privacy issue. ..

Again, not exactly, thought if you want my unvarnished opinion, the jury is still out on YouTube. The Big Media world is still extremely suspicious of Google, and supposed bribes aside, Google has yet to win them over.

3. Speaking of privacy, there will be a major court case involving the database of intentions that gets legislators talking about “protecting the common citizen” (or somesuch) from “the perils of unprotected Internet data mining” (or somesuch).

OK, I think I pretty much nailed this one, twice (once with the DOJ case, twice with AOL).

4. Google and Yahoo will both enter the video (nee television) advertising marketplace.

Google: Oh yes, indeed. Yahoo: Sure, but not like Google…yet. The company stumbled by trying a PGM-based approach with Lloyd Braun at the helm.

5. Microsoft will gain five points of search share, at least. But…

Oh man, I was totally, abjectly wrong. Microsoft LOST share. But the reason I was wrong was that Vista did not ship, which leads to my 6th prediction:

6. Vista will launch, and its much anticipated and feared desktop search integration will be viewed as anemic. The whisper as to why? Fear of the DOJ….

I have it on very good authority, really, no really good authority, that it will ship early next year. In fact, Vista did “ship“, but not to all us chickens. It shipped to Enterprise folks. So far, no search bump…

7. “Web 2.0″ will make the cover of Time Magazine, and thus its moment in the sun will have passed. However, the story that drives “Web 2.0″ will only strengthen, and folks will cast about for the next best name for the phenomenon.

Oh God, can I just gloat for a minute? I mean, really. As Time contributor Steven Johnson (a pal) wrote:

No doubt you’ve already seen that Time Magazine has cleverly named “you” as “Person Of The Year.” They’d asked me a few weeks ago to write an essay for the issue about the rise of amateurism online and my own experiences with outside.in, and in asking, they mentioned that Web 2.0 was a candidate for the cover. They’ve chosen non-people before — the computer was “machine of the year” in 1982, but as I was writing this piece, I kept thinking that putting Web 2.0 on the cover was going to be a little odd, almost like nominating “B2B Enterprise Solutions” in 2000. The way they’ve done it is much more elegant ..

Perhaps it’s elegant, but it’s Web 2.0, dammit, and it’s the cover of Time (this week!), and I can gloat. I called it. And now, well, it’s over. Even Time knows it, because they didn’t call it Web 2 on the cover, the called it “You”. But the essay by Josh Quittner, another pal, is as Web 2 as they come.

8. iTunes will begin to get the speed wobbles as the music industry decides it wants to control its distribution just like in the good old days.

I may have a hard time proving this, but I sense this is happening. We had a dustup about a Forrester report recently, and clearly the idea that Apple was vulnerable got some traction. This story will deepen in 2007. An analysis here from the Journal.

9. The massive telephony industry will begin to crush mammals left and right as its core business model continues a long and painful death dance. “Mammals” are defined as anyone who happens to be in its way as it attempts – scarily but unsuccessfully – to force a two-tiered Internet onto all of us.

This is clearly continuing. I cannot provide one succinct link about this, but I can tell you this – I have three good friends who have tried to do innovate mobile startups, and failed, due to the suffocation of the telephony industry. One of them said to me: “There is simply no innovation in mobile, we can’t get traction, period.” As for net neutrality, it’s clear we have a multi-year fight on our hands.

10. The pace of Internet startup acquisitions will not be as torrid as most entrepreneurs and VCs had hoped.

I think this is certainly true. We’ve had a nice, linear line of acquisitions this year, but nothing torrid.

11. There will be one major new IPO that briefly gets the press talking about “the Next Google.” But it won’t live up to the hype.

There may not have been a big one, but man, the story is now all about how IPOs are coming back. I was just a tad bit early on this. Just a tad. The Dow hit an all time high, and the NASDAQ is resurgent…

12. It will be a long year of head scratching and simmering disputes in the “content creation” business as the major platforms shift strategy on RSS, in particular, and blogging, broadly. In other words, we won’t get nearly as much accomplished as we hoped. At issue is how content creators export their business model through RSS aggregation platforms. Near the end of the year, though, there will be a breakthrough deal that clarifies business model standards in the RSS space.

I think the first half of this is inarguable. But instead of RSS, it should have been video. Then the whole thing would have made sense. RSS is close, close, but in the end, not the point.

13. Mobile. I repeat my mobile prediction from last year, in the hope that it will come true this year: Mobile will finally be plugged into the web in a way that makes sense for the average user and a major mobile innovation – the kind that makes us all say – Jeez that was obvious – will occur. At the core of this innovation will be the concept of search.

Trust me, I was just about three months early on this, if not less. I have personal knowledge – under NDA – that this is going to happen soon. About f*cking time. This has been on my wish list for nearly three years.

14. The China Internet Bubble will begin to deflate.

Honestly, while I have heard anecdotal stories to this end, I can’t say with any authority that things have calmed down there. I’ve got some calls in to folks who know better than I…

15. Tivo and NetFlix will merge.

Shit, there are ten days left. It’s still a good idea….

16. I will not write another book, but my publisher will ask me to update the one I did write. I’ll point him to this site and leave it at that….

OK. I was 2/3rds right. I did not write another book (though I have an idea for one now, wait for the fourth installment of my PGM v CM series for that…). And my publisher *did* ask me for an update. But I failed, miserably, to convince him to just point folks to my blog, and I did write a new chapter for the paperback. Hey, it’s a great chapter!

17. My new business (FM) will grow in fits and starts. By the end of the year, it will either be close to claiming success, or a glorious and noble whiff. Either way, it’ll be one hell of a ride….

My God, has it been a whole year? I won’t gloat, but I will tell you all this: We beat my year’s estimated revenues by nearly 30%, and this fall, we were booking well over a million a month in new business. By mid January or so we’ll be announcing an amazing array of new sites joining FM, and I feel very confident that the model is viable. Perhaps FM won’t be that model’s ultimate expression, but I am so proud of what we’ve built – more than 100 sites, more than 300 million pageviews a month, a more than eight-figure annual run rate, and nearly 30 amazing people, all working toward one goal – making conversational media and marketing work for authors, entrepreneurs, and marketers. I’m very, very happy with how it’s turned out so far.

And I’m also honored by all of you, all your comments, your emails, and your attention. It’s been a crazy, busy year of growth in our industry, and I can’t wait for next year. Thanks to you all, and happy holidays. Next week, I’ll post some predictions for 2007.

Spock Closes $7 Million in Angel Round

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Spock Networks announced today, in the company’s first official press release, that it closed $7 million in Series A funding, in a round with Clearstone & Opus Capital. Spock is an ambitious people search engine company that both VentureBeat and GigaOm have mentioned before. Spock plans to launch a closed beta early next year.

“Everyone is curious about what is said about them online. Who hasn’t googled their own name or someone they know?” said Ken Elefant, general partner at Opus Capital Ventures. “We were incredibly impressed with the Spock team with their tremendous experience. We believe they are approaching the challenge of searching for people in a very different and powerful way that will set them apart from the current general market approach to people search.”

Just In Case You're Not Paying Attention, eBay Is…

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I have been watching Google Checkout, and if you care about the space, you should too. Ebay is most likely VERY worried. They should be. Google is leveraging its cash, its brand, and its AdWords to push this new service. Watch this space. (B2).

Google Search API, Dropped

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Picture 1-36Google has surreptitiously and summarily hacked-off the SOAP branch of its search API, directing developers to the AJAX API without even a blog post. O’Reilly notes that Nelson Minar, the originator of SOAP API at Google, says that this is part of the product discipline drive earlier seen with the ending of the Google Answers program. Perhaps it’s needed discipline, but the developer community is necessarily unhappy with a replacement that won’t fill the needs of the hundreds of applications now depending on the far more flexible SOAP API. Bug fixes for the SOAP API are discontinued, and it is not clear how long Google will support existing users.