free html hit counter March 2007 | John Battelle's Search Blog

BizWeek Says It All

By - March 31, 2007

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Here’s a link to the story.

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More on GoogleClick: It Will Be Free, And Partners Worry

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From a source who is in a position to know, news that Google’s DoubleClick competitor will be … free for all to use. Like Analytics. Think about that for a moment. How did Microsoft kill Netscape? Yup, made the browser free. How will Google try to own the entire ad serving biz? Make it free. Why would they do this? Because the most valuable thing in the world of advertising is not the commodity , it’s the information the commodity will provide.

Providing a scaled ad serving solution? Free. Knowing the margins of every media and marketing company in the world? Priceless.

And who figured this out? Why, Google’s partners, who have been nervous ever since the YouTube acquisition. Think about it. Newscorp was ready to sign a deal with Google for their ad server, sources tell me, but they got nervous about “the fox in the hen house.” And then, what happened? Newcorp went and bought SDC, an ad serving technology and inventory optimization company. Sure makes sense now.

Hmmmmm. It just gets more and more innaresting. Note Barry Diller on Google today in an FT interview:

FT: Do you think Google has taken the right approach, has had the right attitude in its negotiations with the content creators?

MR DILLER: I don’t know. They’re an impossible situation.

FT: Why?

MR DILLER: Because they bought a company and paid fair value for it. They paid what they paid.

FT: Did they pay too much?

MR DILLER: I’m just saying, they paid what they paid. It is too early to tell, and they’ve got this wonderful site with a huge amount of traffic, and that traffic primarily is dependent upon things other people own. So, you go to them and you say, Okay, let’s make a deal. And they look at what you’ve just paid for the service itself, and say, Well, you know, we actually deserve some of that. And Google says, Well, no you don’t. So it is a very difficult tug between what is now an every hour mention, Google, in everything it does, and these people who actually own the stuff, so I’m not saying they handled it well or badly. I think it is a very tough negotiation, handled by Henry Kissinger.

My advice to Google? Don’t make it free. Make it better, make it cheaper, and let those who use it own the data. Ah, hell, make it free, but let those who use it own the data and guarantee them you won’t use it to your advantage. But then….why do it at all?

Hmmm.

Revisionist History at IDG

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I have a lot of respect for Pat McGovern, he backed me when I was young (at the Industry Standard ) and he let me make mistakes, but we butted heads more than we agreed, and unfortunately, we could not see our way to making that business work.

I had pretty much left it at that till I read this interview on MediaShift. Asked why the Standard died, McGovern claims that management (er, that’d be me) refused to sell and blindly pursued an IPO. For the record, he has this entirely backwards. I tried for all of 2000 to get Mr. McGovern to let us sell the company to a stronger buyer, one who believed in our vision of the Internet Economy. He refused, and pushed us to go public instead. It was this very conflict that led to our differences and, partially, to our demise. I had three very real offers on the table that I took to McGovern, and three times he refused them, telling me that instead, we’d make more taking the company public or, at the very least, telling the potential buyer to double the price. Given that the price was between $250mm and $750mm, such a response was, to my mind, non sensical. But he owned the majority of the shares, and his word was what mattered.

McGovern taught me a lot, and I’d wager he may have learned a thing or two from me as well. But while not many things get me upset, this attempt at revisionist history requires it’s own revision. Now, onwards….

Flickr-like Tube?

By - March 28, 2007

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BeetTV says so:

Beet.TV has learned that You Tube will introduce new functionality to its platform tonight which will allow users to organize clips around specific categories.

Up to now, clips saved to an account or uploaded to dedicated channel are organized in what often seems a random process — usually arranged chronologically, but not always.

The new interface will allow users to organize clips according to designated categories.

I can’t imagine that such a feature was anything but “long time coming….”

Related: Gary has a list of YouTube like mobile apps

CUban v. EFF on YouTube

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A good roundup of the etech debate over YouTube’s use of the DMCA can be found at NewTeeVee:

Cuban used the the evening to shed some light on his position. He thinks Google should be held liable for copyright infringements because YouTube doesn’t establish commercial relations with its users, in effect allowing them to upload videos with fake accounts and without any verification of their identity. This distinguishes the site, in his eyes, from traditional web hosters, who are protected from the misdeeds of their users through the “safe harbor provisions” of the DMCA. Says Cuban: “If you are a web host it should be natural to know who your customers are.”

Von Lohmann disagreed with the notion that there is a clear line between YouTube-like sites and traditional web hosting businesses. He illustrated his point by bringing up other companies that are also offering their services for free. “What about Hotmail? What about free web hosters? What about Six Apart?” he kept asking. “What about Pando? Should they be held liable too?”

GoogleClick

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Google does not take third party ad tags. That means that if you want to advertise on Google, you have to run your creative through Google. But a huge portion of the advertising world that Google is now going after – graphical CPM ads – runs through third party ad servers like DoubleClick.

Now, DoubleClick is for sale, the WSJ reports. Actually, I’ve heard it’s been shopped since early last year, but anyway….Microsoft is seen as an interested suitor.

Google can’t let this stand. It’s a major risk to its business to force advertisers to change behavior – it needs a third party ad serving solution.

So it will, without a doubt, build one. More soon.

And In Other Reading…

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GigaOm on Google and its video problem…

Google’s giving bikes out to employees, G B’scoped says. What, the Segway isn’t enough?

With respect, I disagree with #6 here. See this post.

Man, I wish I was at etech. I am missing it for the first time in three years. A roundup

More Google focus on mobile…and mobile ads are hot

Microsoft has a new search head…. (more)

Oh, via SEL, Timesearch. I love the concept.

More Panama good news.

So Yahoo is feeling generous, unlimited mail storage, TechCrunch reports

Wow, Best Buy bought my ISP. Huh.

The Microsoft iPhone.