free html hit counter April 2007 - Page 2 of 10 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google – NBC: Very Dumb Idea

By - April 27, 2007


Some buzz from Wall St: Analysts are saying that there is no “synergy” between NBC, a GE Unit, and the conglomerates’ other units. So the analysts suggest selling it. That is nothing new, this kind of stuff is tossed around all the time on Wall St. But what is new is the suggestion that the best buyer might be Google.

Such a move would be a monumental error. Google is not a company that wants to or probably even knows how to own a major media company. Also, it has outlined a strategy that positions the company as a Switzerland of sorts with regard to major media companies. Buying one of them would kill that strategy.

And lastly, I think the coporate cultures would clash so deeply, AOL/Time Warner would look like a love match in comparison.

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Those of you who’ve read my book may recall I go a tear around the epic of Gilgamesh, and it’s meaning in a search-driven world. I was thrilled to see this Salon review of a new book that tells the story of the oldest known story. The review itself is a worthy read.

Search Index Grammars

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During the conversation yesterday I mentioned something that I’ve been meaning to talk to you all about – the idea of different “grammars” for search indexes. Last week I changed my default engine from Google to Yahoo for a while. Now, Yahoo has a very good engine, and I know its results are, by some objective measures, as good if not better than Google’s results. But what I did not realize, given how long I’ve defaulted to Google, how significant an “accent” Yahoo has compared to the idiom I was used to by using Google. In short, I’m very fluent in navigating through the mass of unstructured results that Google offers me after I enter my two or three word keyword phrase. But with Yahoo, I often find myself conversing in a foreign tongue. Not that the language is better or worse, just….different. Interesting….

Ask and the Contextual Ad Network

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SEW reports on Ask’s long awaited contextual ad network:

Advertisers buying search ads in’s Ask Sponsored Listings (ASL) program will soon have the option of buying contextually-targeted ads on IAC-owned sites and third-party publishers.

The program will launch at the end of May on several IAC-owned properties, such as, Ticketmaster, Evite and Citysearch. Ads will also appear on a few trusted publisher sites, most likely starting with some of the 90 publishers that syndicate search results and search ads. Mid-sized publishers are able to sign up for the program now, and a self-service platform for smaller publishers is expected later this year. is trying to differentiate its offering from AdSense by offering more control and transparency to both advertisers and publishers.

Thanks For the Conversation

By - April 25, 2007

That was a lot of fun! Many of you had more questions, post em here if you want and I’ll get to them once I get off the plane I’m about to jump onto. Thanks to sponsor WebEx!

The Data Bill of Rights

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I’ve not really pulled all the stuff I’ve written about this in one place at one time. I realized this while talking to a researcher last night who is writing a paper on the implications of search and web history. In particular, I’ve not posted in one place about what I’ve started to call “The Data Bill of Rights.” My first attempt was here.

I recall that the first time I wrote about Stewart Butterfield told me it’d be impossible to do what I was suggesting. Maybe so, but Eric, in the interview last week, said Google was committed to Data Portability, which is the key and most difficult piece of the pie.

So, I submit for your review, editing and clarification, a new draft of what rights we, as consumers, might demand from companies making hay off the data we create as we trip across the web:

– Data Transparency. We can identify and review the data that companies have about us. A sticky issue is whether we can also identify and review data that is made about us based on other data the company might have. (IE, based on your behavior, we at Amazon know you might also like….)

– Data Portability. We can take copies of that data out of the company’s coffers and offer it to others or just keep copies for ourselves.

– Data Editing. We can request deletions, editing, clarifications of our data for accuracy and privacy.

– Data Anonymity. We can request that our data not be used, cognizant of the fact that that may mean services are unavailable to us.

– Data Use. We have rights to know how our data is being used inside a company.

– Data Value. The right to sell our data to the highest bidder.

– Data Permissions. The right to set permissions as to who might use/benefit from/have access to our data.

What am I missing?